12 Days of Baking

12 Days of Baking: Je suis français [Tourtiere] (Day 1)

While I might not speak a lick of French (it is quite rusty), I do enjoy traditional French cuisine. My paternal great-grandparents immigrated from a small village in France to Canada in the 1800s and passed their delicacies down the family line. One of those delicacies is tourtiere, a French meat pie that is traditionally enjoyed on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. When I was in elementary school my mom would always make this for our “Culture Days”… every time I brought a pie in, I was so proud of my heritage. FYI my lineage comes from the same village as Napoleon. True story.

In the traditional tourtiere you will find potatoes, pork, onions, various spices and handmade pie crusts. No cheap store bought stuff here folks! My mom has made some slight variations, such as using ground beef, but this year I want to stick to the traditional recipe (sans potatoes, my mom is allergic). This is a tradition that I hope to pass down to my children one day. Just thinking of the pie, thinking of what it looks like fresh out of the oven and the  aroma wafting through the house, brings back wonderful childhood memories. My dad said my grandma would make my grandfather this pie every week. Yeah, I know I could eat it every week too. I’m pretty sure I could eat and entire pie to myself. Don’t judge, it’s delicious.

This year I decided to bring the tradition back and I will be executing the pie baking. Not only will I be baking family meat pie recipes, but I will be baking family cookie recipes. This is something that I want to bring back… family tradition. As we grow older and make new traditions of our own, it’s always important to remember where you came from and to continue the traditions of yesteryear so it won’t be forgotten.

To get this recipe to a new generation, I would like to share with my readers. It’s a delicious pie that I hope you will pass along and share the traditions that came with it.


1 lb minced ground pork
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sage
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup mashed potatoes
Pastry for 2 crusts, 9″ pie (see recipe below)
1 egg + 1/3 tsp water, beat for egg wash


Heat oven to 400F.

1. Combine pork, onion, seasonings and water. Simmer uncovered until meat is cooked (about 25 minutes), stirring occasionally. Cool and skim off fat.

2. Stir in potatoes.

3. Line pie plate with half of the pastry, fill with pork mixture then cover with other half of pastry. Pinch edges and brush with egg wash.

4. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350F, continue baking until crust is golden brown (about 25-30 minutes).

Serves 6.

Pie crust

375ml (1 1/2 cup) flour
3 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
175ml shortening, room temperature
40 – 50 (8 – 10 tsp) ice water

Sift salt and flour together (makes for a flaky pie crust). Combine shortening, mix well. I find it works best when you use your hands. Gradually add in ice water. You want pastry to be semi-moist and not dry or too wet or it won’t work. Let sit for 10 minutes. Roll to 9″ circles.


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