Québec Sugar Pie

Years ago, when I was working for Kraft Foods, a business trip took me to Montreal, which just happened to be the home town of my boss. He told me there were two things I had to hunt down: smoked meat and sugar pie. He didn’t know how little encouragement it took to get me to try new foods. I found both local specialties, and managed to indulge in them more than once—both on that first trip and on subsequent trips to Québec Province.

Sugar pie is a traditional confection almost as old as Québec itself. As with all venerable recipes, there are myriad versions, mostly reflecting what might have been available at different times and places. The version I have developed incorporates the most widely and consistently documented ingredients and produces a pie that reflects the taste and texture of the best sugar pies I had in Canada. Despite its name, it is, surprisingly, not overly sweet. It might be described as something like pecan pie without the pecans—and yet, because there is no corn syrup (as there is in pecan pie), sugar pie is not quite as sweet as pecan pie. Enjoy.

Québec Sugar Pie

9-inch pie crust, unbaked (see notes)
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 Tbs. flour
Pinch salt
2 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt, blending thoroughly. In another bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Whisk in milk and vanilla. Add egg mixture into sugar mixture, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the melted butter. Pour into pie crust.

Bake in center of oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce to 350 degrees, and continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is set. Let cool on rack. Great plain, but especially nice served with unsweetened or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Important Notes: If you use extra large eggs, instead of large or medium eggs, you may need to get a deep-dish pie crust, rather than a regular crust. The filling will still be fine, but extra large eggs can just put you a tiny bit over the edge of a shallow crust.

• The filling is heavy and fluid. If you are going to make this in a foil pie pan, put the pan on a cookie sheet before you fill it. Otherwise, the weight of the filling will cause the foil to buckle when you lift the pan, and a lot of the filling will pour out. Of course, even with a rigid pie pan, you may want to use a cookie sheet, because the filling is sticky, and if some does boil over during initial heating, it could really goop up your oven.

Copyright ©2010 Cynthia Clampitt

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