My mother-in-law’s French Canadian sugar pie recipe – delicious, decadent, but also incredibly easy to make.
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One of the simpler traditional Canadian desserts, you might already have the ingredients in your pantry to make it.
If you’re looking for authentic Canadian recipes, you can’t get more authentic, more French Canadian, or more memorable than tarte au sucre.
How I Discovered French Canadian Sugar Pie
“Dominic made dessert, Marie. Tarte au sucre. Want a slice? “
Pie of sugar?
That’s how that French phrase translated.
Whatever that was, I certainly wanted to try it.
So far my sojourn into French Canadian cuisine had been wonderful, with Pork Hog stew and some delicious pork pate (so much pork). Traditional French Canadian cooking is amazing. When I saw the teeeeny little sliver, I said, “Can’t I get more than two bites? I mean … pie. And sugar. Plus my sweet tooth …”
Dominic and EJ both gave me a steady look for a few moments, trying to decide if they should tell me or let me find out on my own, and then together turned around and cut me a BIG slice of French Canadian sugar pie.
I learned my lesson.
When you make this delicious pie recipe (and you really should), serve it in teeeeny little slices because sugar pies are incredibly sweet. (You figured that from the name, right?)
French Canadian Desserts … oh, my
There’s a myth that all the French Canadians are in Quebec.
The opposite to that myth, which I’ve also heard from people, is that everyone in Canada is French.
(If you’ve heard that there are some amazing Canadian desserts – that’s not a myth at all.)
Yes, we have two official languages in Canada – French and English – but truthfully, most of the French spoken in Canada is in New Brunswick, Quebec, and northern Ontario.
EJ’s family is from northern Ontario, a town called Sudbury.
When we were living there, I saw a car with Florida licence plates and joked that he was a very long way from home.
He said, “I’m from here and I usually come home in the summer. I was busy that week, though.”
That about sums up Sudbury. A pleasant winter day is -18C (around 0F), and summer is incredibly short. No wonder the French have such amazing desserts that are made with very simple pantry ingredients.
Many of these traditional French Canadian desserts have names that translate very rudely. (I mean, there’s one named because it looks like a nun’s bum!)
But this ….. oh, this is pure delicious.
So What Is Sugar Pie?
Okay, it’s NOT Sugar Cream Pie. Also delicious, but not the same thing.
This incredibly delicious dessert is basically a mixture of white sugar, molasses, cream, vanilla extract, and eggs. Thickened with just a tiny bit of flour, it’s poured into a single pie crust and baked.
And by single crust, I mean no topping. This recipe actually uses two single crusts and makes two pies.
OR (as you can see in the photos), it can be use to make about 3 dozen mini tarts!
The ingredients are simplicity itself, and you probably have them all in your pantry. It’s really the perfect pie to make when you want the appearance of decadence without all of the work (or cost!)
Time to learn how to make a sugar pie … and you don’t need to speak French because I translated my mother-in-law’s recipe for you.
You will need to mix sugar with molasses.
You COULD be all non-thrifty and buy store-bought brown sugar. I have always found that that is too expensive and it doesn’t store well. Just mix your own. It’ll taste exactly the same.
To that, mix in milk or cream. I strongly recommend heavy cream unless you’re making this in the middle of a blizzard and there’s no cream to be found. In a recipe like this, counting calories is just silly.
Beat in the eggs, melted butter, and flour. If there are teeeny lumps of flour, I promise no one will notice.
Hey, my Home Ec teacher taught me years ago that if it says ‘2 tablespoons melted butter’, then you melt the butter and THEN measure it. If it says ‘2 tablespoons butter, melted’, then you measure the butter before melting. In this case, you want to melt it first and then measure.
And then you … well, that’s it for the fillings. I’ve heard there’s a version of this that uses maple syrup – something I’ll need to look into.
Now dust uncooked pie crusts well on both sides with flour. This keeps it from totally disintegrating into the filling.
Well, it helps anyway. The filling sort of soaks into the unbaked pie shell, but the flour slows that down a bit.
As soon as you’re done, preheat oven to 400F. That’s going to seem a bit high, but you’ll have to trust me.
Divide the pie filling between the two pie crusts as evenly as you can. Unless you’re entering this into a contest, no one will notice if the pies are a little uneven. They’ll be too busy eating.
I strongly advise that you line a couple of cookie sheets with tinfoil or parchment and place your pies on those. A spill isn’t likely, but if it happens and this goes all over your oven, you’ll cry.
The pies go in the oven for about 30 minutes. Don’t quote me on that – watch your pie. There is absolutely no doubt when this is cooked – it will look firm and cooked. You shouldn’t have to reduce heat while it’s cooking.
Just don’t take a nap while baking the pie – watch it.
Let your pies cool completely.
The last time I made this French Canadian Sugar Pie recipe, we were heading to visit my family for New Year’s Day dinner and I really wanted to impress everyone. This is definitely one of those Canadian desserts that impresses!
So I put the pies out in the back porch so they can cool to room temperature.
After all, the children don’t often go out there during the winter – it’s too cold, just a place to pass through on your way to the house.
So as we’re getting ready, getting coats and boots on … and not once do I think that I just sent the little girls into the porch to get their boots.
Luckily I have an understanding family. No one minded the fingermarks in the pie – they were too busy eating it.
There you have it. Go impress people with your French Canadian desserts and create a new family favorite, but don’t blame me for any weight gain.
Don’t forget to cut it in small slices. (If cut in 16 slivers, each one is only 140 … or so … calories!)
Time to Make Your Own Sugar Pie or Tarte au sucre!
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 Tablespoons molasses
- 1 cup cream
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 pie shells uncooked
- Mix sugar and molasses together. Mix in milk, then beat in eggs, melted butter and flour.
- Divide between two uncooked pie crusts that have been dusted with flour.
- Place the pies on cookie sheets in case they bubble over (although they shouldn’t unless you put all the filling in one crust.) Bake at 400F for about half an hour.
- Let cool completely before eating.