It’s time for this month’s Baking Partners Challenge. The theme for this month is PIE!
This time around I had the chance to pick one of the recipe options for the group and I went with a tourtière– a classic French-Canadian meat pie.
I’ve never made a tourtière before and I wanted it to be good, so I searched out a recipe from my favourite French Canadian chef, Martin Picard of Au Pied de Cochon.
I love the hell out of pie.
I don’t make pies as often as I’d like because they’re dangerous in my company but I really, really love them (even if they’re not all that cool).
I’m fond of a flavourful and flaky crust (even if its flakiness sacrifices its appearance) and the filling is just an added bonus.
So for this recipe Picard’s crust was forgone in order to allow me to experiment a bit. I normally make my crusts with butter, but I figured there would be no better time to try a lard crust than in a pork-filled pie.
Lard is known for making very flaky pastry and, since I wanted to get more flakiness without sacrificing the flavour of butter, I split the fat in my pie crust recipe into a ratio of 60% lard to 40% butter. It was fantastic.
The lard crust seemed to me to be slightly harder to work with. As usual, it didn’t look the prettiest but the flakiness was stellar. I still have some lard left over that I would really like to try in a sweet pie next time.
Oh yeah, and about that filling? SO GOOD. This recipe was a huge hit with both Matt and I.
Martin Picard Tourtiere du Shack
I increased the amount of spices slightly from Picard’s original recipe to give it more flavour. The filling makes more than enough for one 9 inch pie, so I used the extra to make pork filled fatayer.
This recipe took me a full day to make but it’s not all hands-on time. If you plan it out properly you can make a lot of the components ahead of time and just pop the pie in the oven right before you want to serve it. I’d like to try freezing a prepared pie to see how that works.
Makes 1 very deep 9 inch pie.
Adapted from Martin Picard
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
3/4 c. cold lard cut into 1/2” pieces
1/2 c. cold salted butter cut into 1/2” pieces
8 – 10 Tbsp. ice water
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 medium onions, chopped, divided
4 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
5 whole black peppercorns plus freshly ground black pepper
5 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 2″ pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 medium button mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 pounds ground pork
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup grated, peeled russet potato
All-purpose flour (for surface)
1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
Pulse the flour, salt, lard, and butter in a food processor 4 or 5 times until you get large quarter-sized crumbles. (Forget the pea-sized business. You want big chunks here)
Add the water tablespoon at a time, pulsing once between additions until the dough just starts to come together. It will still be pretty crumbly but you should be able to form it into a ball with your hands.
Divide the mixture in half and form each half into a ball. Wrap them in plastic wrap individually and, once wrapped, flatten them into a disc. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before using. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.
Preheat oven to 325°. Combine broth, 1/2 chopped onion, 1 chopped garlic clove, whole peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaves in a medium pot. Add pork shoulder; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Cover pot. Transfer to oven; braise until pork shoulder is tender and shreds easily, about 2 hours. Remove from oven; let cool.
Transfer pork shoulder to a work surface. Shred meat with your fingers and transfer to a medium bowl. Strain pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve; add 1/2 cup juices to pork; discard solids in strainer.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 chopped onion and 3 chopped garlic cloves; cook, stirring often, until soft, 5–7 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until almost all liquid is evaporated, 5–7 minutes. Add wine; stir, scraping up browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook, stirring often, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Add ground pork, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook, stirring to break up into small pieces, until pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add potato. Cook until potato is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in shredded pork with juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper; let cool slightly. Chill until cold, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Roll out 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface into a 12″ round. Transfer to a deep 9” pie dish, leaving overhang. Fill with cooled meat mixture. Roll out remaining dough disk into a 10″ round. Place dough over meat filling. Fold overhang over top crust and crimp edges. Brush crust with egg yolk. Cut three 2″ slits in top crust. Chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°. Bake tourtière for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 40–50 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.
If you’re looking for some more savoury pie recipes, here are a few that I’ve made and loved.
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