Cooking Classes


Tourtiere - A Traditional Canadian Christmas

I was inspired to make this tourtiere by More Than Burnt Toast.  At the time I didn't have any pie plates but hers is made in a log form and can be cooked on a baking sheet.  I am invited for Christmas dinner and would like to take something with a Canadian flavour to share.  My friends, Scott and Jayson, have a tradition of making tourtiere every Christmas season.  This is typically served Christmas eve, especially in Quebec.  My homemade green tomato relish will go perfectly with this.

Since I moved to Swift Current I have had many requests for this Christmas treat. Who would have thought?

This can be served warm or at room temperature.  It also freezes well but I'm not sure if you would cook it first or freeze to cook later.  If anyone has done this, perhaps you could make a note in the comments on this posting.  Merci beaucoup!

I have combined a lot of the ideas I have seen in recipes.  I like the added flavour of cinnamon and cloves.  I also liked the way it is cooked in Jean Chretien's recipe.  His recipe cooks the meat for 1 1/2 hours.  This makes a nice fine filling without lumps.  I used my sour cream pastry recipe because it is so easy and tasty, too.  I have used pork and beef, but it can also be made with wild game ground meat.


1 lb ground pork
3/4 lb ground beef
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t black pepper
1 t salt
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 c beef or chicken broth
2 T breadcrumbs

Put the stock in a large pan or pot and bring to a boil.  Add the pork, beef, onions, and seasonings.  Cook with the lid on until the meat is completely broken down and cooked, about 1 1/2 hours.  Remove the lid and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated.  Add bread crumbs one tablespoon at a time to soak up any oil.  Cool completely before filling the pastry.

Roll the pastry into a rectangle.  Put a strip of filling done the middle and fold the pastry over on the long sides and then fold up the ends.  Trim the excess pastry otherwise it may not fully cook.  Milk can be used to help 'glue' the seams so it doesn't fall apart.  Place on a baking sheet, seam side down.  Cut a few steam vents in the top and decorate with more pastry, if you wish.  Brush with milk.  Bake at 425F for about 20 minutes or until golden in colour.

Sour Cream Pastry
1 1/4 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 " cubes
3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. chilled sour cream L
4 to 6 tbsp. ice water

In a bowl with your fingertips, a pastry blender or food processor, blend together flour, butter, and salt until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with remainder in small lumps, roughly the size of peas. Add sour cream and blend just until incorporated. Drizzle 4 tablespoons  water over mixture and mix just until incorporated. Test mixture by gently squeezing a small handful. It should hold together without crumbling apart. If necessary, add enough remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If you overwork or add too much water, pastry will be tough.
Turn mixture out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions if making pies or one piece if making a log. With heel of hand smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together and form it, rotating it on work surface, into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour, and up to 1 day.

This is my contribution to the Canadian Food Experience this month.


  1. Wow! What a lovely tourtière!! You did a fabulous job. I think I need to try this out.


  2. This looks fabulous! I found it easier to freeze tourtiere uncooked. Do NOT defrost before baking them - just start them off in a hot oven (450), then lower temperature after 40 minutes and bake another 40 mins. or until crust is done & filling hot.

  3. Thanks, June. I thought it would be best frozen uncooked. I know my friends in Victoria make a bunch every Christmas and give as gifts and they freeze them.

  4. Une recette qui me plait beaucoup et que je prends en note.
    Joyeux Noël et bonne année.

  5. This is the most innovative pretty way..I will try your tourtière way:) Even before next Christmas..Thank you..and Happy Holidays~et..bravo!

  6. Beautiful tortiere! I've always wanted to try one of these and I think next year it's making it to the list for sure. And you didn't miss much in Calgary with that snow think people would know how to drive up here ;) Merry Xmas - thanks for such a wonderful blog! I stumbled across your how to make duck confit the other day and I'm hooked :)

  7. Thanks, Cathy! I'll be leavin' here at the end of January. Hopefully by then it will be spring up there, eh! I saw duck legs at the Market today and was tempted to buy them for more confit...but I have to empty the pantry first. Use kosher salt with the confit.

  8. Well, I'm sorry, but if I made that, no one would get to eat it. They would all have to just stand around and admire it's gorgeousness.

  9. Wow, I just made a Beef Wellington so I am really impressed with the way
    your tortiere turned out... great work!

  10. Yes, it is 'tortiere en croute'!

  11. This looks so good! My grandfather was from Quebec and he'd always talk about the Christmas tortiere from his childhood.

    I've always wanted to try one. Next year I'm trying this.

  12. Gorgeous photos! Wow!

    And the dish itself sounds just delicious.

    -Christina (chow)

  13. What a beautiful Tortiere. We also have the tradition of serving Tortiere on Christmas Eve at our home.

    Just to answer your question above, I usually make a couple of extra pies and freeze them. I much prefer them fully baked and then frozen. Just wrap them in plastic and then in foil. They freeze beautifully. Take them out of the freezer either earlier in the day or the night before and let thaw in the fridge. Reheat in the oven.

  14. What a lovely meat pie.
    I wish you a wonderful new year!

  15. Quite an innovative idea not having to use the traditional pie shell in a pie plate - may have to try that way for sure!!! I like your recipe except I use ground pork; ground beef & ground veal & rather than the bread crumbs I grate a raw potato into the mixture OR add mashed potatoes or dehydrated potato flakes. Bonne Appetit!!! Enjoy, Sue

  16. See? I forgot! I must I must..:) I found great new spices this yr..By Dion..nice mix..we also added a touch of flour instead of breadcrumbs..and it worked for us..:)Fun to try different things~

  17. I did make some your way..and they are lovely..
    PS I usually freeze mine unbaked.

  18. Meat pies! Your log shaped one is beautiful. This seems like it would be a great thing to make in advance and freeze so it can be cooked without fuss on a busy day.

  19. Una delicia de tradiciòn muy bella tomo nota me enamorè,saludos y abrazos.

  20. Yes, you can freeze the pies uncooked, just don't vent them until ready to cook! I make them all the time to freeze. My daughter in University finds them just great as individual pies for supper!

  21. Yes, I freeze mine unbaked, too. I defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking and they turn out beautifully. I have had no problem with 'venting' before freezing.

  22. Your tourtiere looks gorgeous Sarah. Love the idea of sour cream pastry as well. Making it in a log makes a gorgeous presentation I think. I am also curious about Jean Chretiens recipe as well since he is French Canadian.

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