Just Like Home: Sugar pie is a Christmas tradition in Quebec

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Christmas dinner in Quebec isn't complete without sugar pie. Global's Raquel Fletcher finds out what makes tarte au sucre so unique.

When it comes to Christmas dinner, the best is saved ’til last — and if you’re lucky, hopefully, there are leftovers.

Of course, the meal isn’t complete without dessert. As part of Global News’ Just Like Home food series, Louis-Eric Emond from Le Pied Bleu restaurant in Quebec City explains how to make traditional sugar pie.

READ MORE: Just Like Home: Secrets of traditional Quebec tourtiere

In Quebec, one of the most popular Christmas desserts is the traditional tarte au sucre. Start with the tart shell (see recipe below).

Don’t butter the pie tray, but be careful to push the dough in place with your knuckles. Cover with two pieces of parchment paper and place a second pie tray of peas in order to keep the crust from rising too much. 

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Emond said his family always has a meat pie, like traditional Quebec tourtiere and sugar pie at Christmas. It’s always homemade, something that is not going away, he said

“We’re going back to the old ways,” he said.

READ MORE: Reality check: Is eating dessert every day really that bad for you?

For those attempting sugar pie at home for the first time, it’s not as easy task, but Emond gives some tips. Wait until the butter has melted into the boiling maple syrup and cream mixture. Only when the liquid has returned to room temperature, add the eggs.

“So the eggs don’t cook right away,” he said. “And they don’t leave egg clumps in your tarte.”

READ MORE: Just like home: North Indian spices bring out a sense of nostalgia


Pie Pastry


  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb package of lard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Water

Mix flour and salt. Cut in the lard with a pastry blender until pea size. In a measuring cup, combine the egg and vinegar. Add enough cold water to make one cup.

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Stir the liquid into the flour mixture until mixed thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for one hour before rolling.


*makes enough for two 9-inch pie shells

  • 250 ml heavy cream
  • 750 ml maple syrup
  • 200 g. soft butter, cut in pieces
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 6 eggs

Bake two pie shells for 15 minutes at 350F. Mix the cream and maple syrup in a pot and bring to a boil.

Remove pot from stove and add butter. Whisk the butter until melted, then add flour. Whisk until it is mixed.

Once the mixture is at room temperature, mix in eggs. Pour mixture into pie shells. Bake at 300F for 20-25 minutes.