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.
tarte au sucre
6 T all-purpose flour
2 c packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c evaporated milk
4 T butter
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
1 unbaked pie shell
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a saucepan, combine flour and sugar. Turn heat to medium-high and stir in milk, butter, salt and vanilla. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into an unbaked pie shell.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until the pie sets (it should still jiggle but not be liquid).
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).
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!
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.
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 😉
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.
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.
that looks so yummy!
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.
this looks great!
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…
chocorate, as far as i know, it’s a quebec thing! i too love tourtiere and i look forward to it every winter.
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).
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!
This I believe is known as Gypsy Pie here in London.