Baked from “Sap Happy” written by OLIVER SCHWANER-ALBRIGHT. New York Times, March 2, 2008
I’m sure there are other more traditional sweets from my husband’s Québécois heritage that we could roll out for the holidays, but this one was a special family request: Sugar Pie (always Maple) or Tarte au Sucre. It ticks all of the boxes for Québécois delights – maple sugar and fat, in this case butter and cream.
While we’ve both enjoyed my mother-in-law’s recipes for sugar pie – she had two – but this one from Chantal Séquin seems to be more a more traditional take on the tarte au sucre we’ve sampled in Montréal, so we went with that this holiday season.
Tarte au Sucre (Maple Syrup Pie) based on a recipe by Chantal Séquin
For the crust:
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 3 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup maple syrup, preferably medium dark
Crème fraîche, for serving.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the crust (we’ve also used a good quality pre-made crust, especially handy for those who are pastry-challenged) by combining the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Sprinkle a tablespoon of ice water at a time over the dough, lifting and tossing it with the fork. When it begins to come together, gather the dough, press it into a ball and then pull it apart. If it crumbles in your hands, it needs more water. Add a teaspoon or two more water, as needed.
2. Flatten the ball of dough and roll between two sheets of plastic wrap into a circle 10 inches in diameter. Remove the plastic and lay the dough into a 9-inch tart pan, press into place and remove excess dough. Place in the freezer.
3. Meanwhile, make the filling by beating the eggs in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the flour. Add the cream and maple syrup and whisk until combined.
Pour into the crust-lined pan. (Helpful hint: protect the crust edges with foil to prevent burning). Cook until the middle still jiggles but is solid, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with crème fraîche.