delicieux! tarte au sucre

I want to go to Quebec again. When I mentioned this to Cornelius, he wasn’t too thrilled. Ten years ago, he rode is bike from Vancouver to Montreal and then lived there for 3 short months. He worked as a bike courier during the very cold winter months and lived in a cramped, roach-infested room. He doesn’t have very good memories of “La Belle Provence”…except for the meal he ate almost everynight after his courier shift was over which consisted of 4 steamies (hotdogs) and a cup of spruce beer from a fast food chain called “La Belle Provence”. Believe me when I say that I’ve got better memories than that of Quebec!

When I was little, we would visit at least once a year my grandparents in their hometown of Trois-Rivières or spend the summer months at their beach-front cottage at Lac au Sable. Going to visit my grandparents always felt a little strange as my dad would stay home in Ontario while we took the long train ride with my mom to visit her side of the family. My younger brother and I did not speak french very well and although I could understand what was being spoken, I was still quite shy to “parlez vous en francais” out loud. Everything seemed a bit louder in that cottage than in our quiet house in London, Ontario. There was more laughter and more singing and more drinking. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. But for me, going to the lake meant swimming, reading and eating pie. And, oh those pies!

It was at their cottage where I first tasted tartre au sucre. My grandmother would make 2 pies that I remember during the summer, framboise (raspberry) and tartre au sucre (sugar pie). For the raspberry pie, we would head out into the woods with large giant white buckets and start picking all the wild raspberries….some making it into the buckets and some making it into my mouth. Raspberries were my favorite fruit as a child and I loved my grand-maman’s raspberry pie. Nothing could top that feeling of biting into the warm pie and crunching the seeds between my teeth. But that was until I tried tartre au sucre. I never knew exactly how that pie came together or what was in it and since my mother never made it, it was a complete mystery to me. But when it arrived on my plate still warm from the oven, I couldn’t believe what I had been missing. Sweet, yet not overly so, it was creamy and rich and delicious.

This pie recipe wasn’t my grandmother’s recipe. My grandmother used real cream, of course, but this recipe still brought those memories flooding back. It’s an easy pie to make and not at all mysterious. It’s probably not as delicious as my grandmother’s pie, but that’s the stuff of memories anyway. Enjoy.

15 comments to “delicieux! tarte au sucre”

  1. 1
    Cornelius   October 8, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    Ok, first of all..
    I was there mostly in September and October (hardly “very cold winter months”, although it did get icy a couple times). And I DO have some good memories of Montreal other than 50-cent steamies (which I mainly had for lunch – not dinner). Like, home-made spruce beer on rue Notre-Dame, a real autumn, uh, and some other stuff. But it’s true, “La Belle Provence” was great! And my apartment was terrible (scuttling).

  2. 2
    The Culinary Chase   October 9, 2006 at 1:20 am

    I love sugar pie from Quebec!! I recall one time when I was in Montreal (drove my husband crazy), I would order different sugar pies from different restaurants. I think I’ll try your recipe this week! Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. 3
    Anonymous   October 9, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    Sugar…did someone mention sugar? 🙂

    I must admit that I like my sugar and what a great way to have it…but in a pie!!

    I must admit though, that I’ve never heard of ‘sugar pie’ before…but then I’m not from Quebec…I’m from Ontario, home of the ‘beaver tail’…avec de la cannelle et du sucre.


  4. 4
    jenn   October 9, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    Oh I so love sugar pie! I love fall! The leaves are at their peak here in Ontario!!! Okay…thats it…I’m making that pie!!!! lol 😉

  5. 5
    LB   October 9, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Oh, dear. Here I was looking for recipes that call for no-cook lasagna noodles, and suddenly I’ve got a new food blog to subscribe to! Yikes.

  6. 6
    MarieAlice   October 10, 2006 at 9:19 am

    Love your blog. My father’s people came from the Lac St Jean region of Quebec and I used to spend summers with my grand-maman as well. I well remember this gorgeous pie…also beautiful caramel flake pastries with big globs of sweet thick cream spooned on top. What a delicious memory.

  7. 7
    Rachel   October 10, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    that looks so yummy!

  8. 8
    kickpleat   October 10, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    ah, cornelius, always getting the last word in….

    culinary chase, thanks for the thanksgiving wishes and i hope you get your fill of sugar pie!

    sugar pie, annon, is a wonderful thing! give it a go 😉

    jenn, yay for pie!!

    aw, thanks lb!

    mmmm, mariealice, your memories sound just as delicious as mine!

    thanks, rachel. it really was.

  9. 9
    emeraldtiger   October 10, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    this looks great!

  10. 10
    Chokorate   October 11, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    Oh, I didn’t know sugar pie was from Quebec… and I had no idea ‘beaver tails’ were from Ontario! Weird, cause friends from Ontario would drive to Quebec especially for the Queues de castor…

    I grew up in Quebec, but I’ve never really missed Quebec food until I went to Ontario for university – especially tourtiere! :Q Yumm now I wanna get some sugar pie, too…

  11. 11
    kickpleat   October 11, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    thanks, emeraldtiger!

    chocorate, as far as i know, it’s a quebec thing! i too love tourtiere and i look forward to it every winter.

  12. 12
    Serena Marie   October 16, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    I have a lot of fond memories of living in Montreal. One of the fondest being fresh bagels at any hour (either Fairmount or St. Viateur).

  13. 13
    Louise   October 28, 2006 at 7:37 am

    Just discovering your blog this morning… and noticed that you drove through my hometown, St-Casimir – big church in front of the bridge crossing the river – on you way to Lac aux Sables! Thanks for the recipe – I have several, but I’m still looking for the ultimate – I’ll definitely try it!

  14. 14
    Lynn   July 26, 2015 at 11:57 am

    This I believe is known as Gypsy Pie here in London.

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