Over coffee this morning, a coworker described in glowing terms a dessert she’d once had in a small pizzeria in St. Pierre. It was sugar pie. Sweet, creamy, heaven in a pie crust, is what she said. Sugar pie.
It stuck in my head. I’m new to pies, for a lot of my life I was very anti-pie. I’m still not huge on fruit pies. But through quiche and savoury pies I’ve begun to learn that pastry can be an excellent vessel, and I’m beginning to explore dessert pies as well. There was something about the thought of sugar pie and I just couldn’t think of anything else.
So I took to the internet and discovered that it is a traditional dish of Quebec (land of poutine, don’t forget) and incredibly simple to make. The only truly important element is the sugar itself. Pure Quebec maple sugar. I was now more determined than ever.
At the start of my lunch a dashed quickly across the parking lot to the supermarket to pick up a few ingredients. Namely, a half-litre of cream. I wasn’t shocked that the supermarket didn’t carry the proper sugar, and darted downtown to the specialty grocery store/ bakery/ deli, Auntie Crae’s. It took some digging, but Auntie Crae’s came through with small packets tied with twine and a maple leaf on the front. They cost $7.58, which seemed a little much for a small packet of sugar, but this was a special, seasonal sugar. Then I looked more closely. The packet contained 125 grams. For the cup of sugar the recipe required, I would need to buy two packets which meant spending $15.16 on sugar. Not sugar to stock up against the apocalypse, but sugar to go in one pie.
This was when I paused to have a think. I wouldn’t be able to leave the store if there was a possibility that I would never have a sugar pie. How could a person live like that? When you’re talking about something that you might regret for 60 years, fifteen bucks is not that much. Furthermore, if I didn’t make it today, than when? I couldn’t make it January, not with my resolutions for frugality and healthy eating kick in. Optimistically I could hold onto my resolutions for a few months, but I’m not going to make a maple sugar pie in summer, that’s just insane. So really now was the time. The last week of the year was the perfect time for sugar pie and I was standing there with cream and just the right kind of sugar.
I bought the sugar.
Quebec Maple Sugar Pie (from Epicurious)
This really couldn't be simpler. Whisk together one cup pure Quebec maple sugar (I've been assured that this is of the utmost importance) with 1/4 cup flour. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream and mix. Pour the works into a partially baked pie crust and bake or 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
This pie will come out of my oven in 2 minutes. It smells amazing, it looks amazing, but I won't taste it quite yet. I'll save that for midnight. I have a feeling that it will go very well with cheap champagne