Recently Tenderflake conducted a survey to determine a few things about Canadians’ love of pie. You know what Tenderflake is, right? It’s lard. Do you know what lard is? Simply put, it is rendered pig fat, and, as it turns out, it has been making a comeback for the last few years, both in high-end restaurants and bakeries. A few years ago Sasha Chapman wrote an excellent article for Toronto Life extolling the virtues of this misunderstood, and, to a certain extent, vilified fat. If you have a few minutes, you should definitely check out this fascinating piece, it will probably change the way you look at lard. Really.
So, get yourself some lard and let’s get down to what this post is really about; pie crust, pies sweet-and savory- and Canada’s love affair with them.
No matter what the season, Canadians dig pie. Apple pie in the fall, pumpkin pie around Thanksgiving, mincemeat at Christmas, rhubarb pie in the spring, and in the summer, look out!
Every few weeks another fruit is out in full force, bursting with summer fresh flavour. Bluberries, raspberries and strawberries all make great pies and tarts, and in mid August, Niagara peaches are at their peak.
One of my favourite all-time pies is Susan Newbury’s Peach Almond Pie, the arrival of which is a much anticipated summer event at Kingston, Ontario’s celebrated Chez Piggy.
If you are making a fruit pie this summer, a good idea is to buy as much fresh fruit as you can carry and IQF it.
No mention of pies, or tarts, would be complete without a shout-out to that quintessential Ontario pastry, the butter tart. If you want to get in on a little butter tart action, you should definitely check out 86’d Monday at the Drake Hotel this July 30th, when I will be hosting a Butter Tart Battle. Who makes the best butter tart in Toronto? Is it Graham Pratt from the Gabardine, Heather Mordue from Bestellen or Tracey Freeman, pastry instructor from George Brown Chef School? Come out and judge for yourself!
Getting back to that Tenderflake survey. Here are some noteworthy results:
· Canadians have a sweet tooth when it comes to pie. Three-quarters (76%) prefer a dessert pie to a savoury pie. Apple pie won out as the favourite, voted for by 17% of Canadians and closely followed by lemon meringue at 14%. Pecan (10%), blueberry (10%) and pumpkin (8%) rounded out the top five sweet pies.
· Shepherd’s pie is the preference in the savoury category, with three in ten Canadians (27%) naming this their favourite. Other popular savoury flavours include chicken pot pie (25%) and Tourtiére (22%)
· Those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are most likely in the country to favour apple pie (28% vs. 17% nationally), but they are also most likely to prefer savoury pie to a dessert pie (31% vs. 24% nationally)
· Respondents from Atlantic Canada are most likely to enjoy lemon meringue pie (31% vs. 14% nationally)
· British Columbians are the most likely in the country to favour blueberry pie (14% vs. 10% nationally) and Shepherd’s pie (33% vs. 27% nationally)
· Albertans are the most likely in the country to prefer cherry pie (12% vs. 8% nationally) and a savoury chicken pot pie (38% vs. 25%)
·Quebecers are the most likely in the country to prefer a sweet pie (83% vs. 76% nationally), pecan pie (15% vs. 10% nationally) and Tourtière (50% vs. 22% nationally)
· Quebecers are also the most likely to enjoy ice cream with their sweet pie (59% vs. 51% nationally) and ketchup with their savoury pie (61% vs. 32% nationally)
· Ontarians are the most likely to add hot sauce to their savoury pie (12% vs. 8% nationally)