A French-Canadian holiday table tradition, tourtière is a double crusted savoury minced meat pie flavoured with cinnamon and cloves. Apparently there are as many variations of this humble classic as there are snowflakes…okay, maybe not quite that many. But here’s a peek inside 5 dramatically different takes on tourtière now available around town.
The meat: Pork shoulder and beef ground fresh in-house with sweet potato
The seasoning: maple syrup, cloves, allspice, ginger, cinnamon
The secret: chicken stock gives it juiciness, keeps it from being dry; double egg wash on the crust gives it a gorgeous golden colour
The crust: All butter pie dough
The ketchup: Made from scratch with San Marzano tomatoes, maple syrup, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, red/green peppers, red onion — sweet and tangy, with a bit of a spicy kick
The recipe: Kevin Mathieson grew up eating dry tourtière and decided to experiment until he made the pie he would want to eat
The cost: $8.95 for slice, served with salad and homemade ketchup; $24 for whole pie
Art-Is-In Bakery, 250 City Centre Ave., Bay #112; 613-695-1226.
The Piggy Market
The meat: O’Brien Farms beef, and Heritage breed pork
The crust: In-house pie crust with rendered pork lard
The seasonings: House blend includes caraway, cumin, and allspice
The technique: Same principle as the Jamaican patty filling, to ensure a moist filling. Thickened with Art-Is-In Bakery breadcrumbs and locally grown rolled oats.
The recipe: From Dave Neil’s head, he calls it the “un-traditional traditional tourtière.” It originally came from a need to use day old caraway rye loaf, and the desire to have something to pair with Major Craig‘s Cranberry Chutney
The cost: $25 for a 9-inch pie that feed 4-6 people
To order: Tourtière can be ordered for pick up closer to Christmas eve, or can be picked up at the store anytime. All pies come frozen with the cooking instructions in the box
The Piggy Market, 400 Winston Ave., 613-371-6124.
The meat: For the first time this year, Les Fougères has responded to requests for traditional Quebec tourtière made with veal and pork and Christmas spices. They will continue to offer their three popular variations as well: Québec duck tourtière with maple syrup and orange; Québec lamb and goats cheese tourtière with roasted red pepper and rosemary; and Québec bison and cranberry tourtière with Port and juniper.
The crust: All butter puff pastry top
The secrets: Everything is made from scratch, no preservatives; most ingredients are locally sourced; meats are long-simmered; spices are freshly roast and ground
The accompaniment: Lady Ross mustard pickle (a homemade chutney full of vegetables, gherkins, and made bright yellow with turmeric)
Vegetarian options: wild mushroom with Brie pie; curried lentil and chickpea pie; aged Quebec cheddar with root veg and wild rice pie
The cost: $17 for 9-inch pie; $6.50 for 5-inch pie
Les Fougères, 783 route 105, Chelsea, Quebec, 819-827-2837.
The Red Apron
The meat: Ontario Berkshire Pork and Fitzroy Beef in equal amounts
The spices: savoury, thyme, sage, onions, garlic, clove and cinnamon
The “secret” ingredient: Warner’s pear apple cider, which is added right at the end. “We feel it gives the combination a nice sweet, fresh finish and cuts the richness of the meat, “ says co-owner Jennifer Heagle
The crust: made from scratch using Red Apron’s own recipe that includes 50 percent lard and 50 percent butter
The ketchup: house-made ketchup, an emulsion of tomatoes, mustard, onions, garlic, brown sugar and finished with a touch of chipotle
The recipe: It’s a family recipe that co-owner Jo-Ann Laverty grew up with and modified over time
To purchase: They will be available all month in the retail store, frozen and unbaked so that they can be baked as needed (50 minutes in a 375-degree oven, from frozen)
The cost: $21 (ketchup included)
Please note: Red Apron is not taking pre-orders but there are plenty of tourtières on-hand
The Red Apron, 564 Gladstone Ave., 613-695-0417.
Life of Pie
The meat: ground Berkshire Pork and Fitzroy Beef; 2 parts pork and 1 part beef
The crust: a mixture of butter and trans fat free shortening.
The recipe: Tourtière was not a part of Kerry Duffy’s family tradition when she was growing up so she did not have a recipe handed down to her. “Strangely enough, the recipe is from Alex Trebek and was printed in the TV Times,” says Duffy.
The accompaniment: chutney
The cost: $19 for a 10″ deep-dish pie (serves 6)
To order: best to call ahead; orders accepted until the end of day on Friday, Dec. 16
Life of Pie, 1095 Bank St., 613-693-1853