Bonus point time… List 5 Canadian desserts, and if you can do it without consulting Google, you win – GO! …any luck? I’ll be honest, I have a hard time naming many myself, and I live here! I can think of butter tarts, nanaimo bars, beaver tails, maple cookies… and…. ah… that’s about all that comes to mind. But then, there’s an often forgotten little hero: maple pie.
To tell you the truth, I can’t say I’m super patriotic. I love living here in Canada, but I also loved every country I’ve lived in or visited. There’s something so fun about exploring foods from various cultures. Some places have such a rich history when it comes to traditional desserts… and then there’s Canada, whose history is so young it seems it’s not had the time to develop a proper dessert culture. And speaking of culture, it’s so darn multicultural here (in a good way) that you can pretty much get any kind of dessert or food you like — anything you can dream up you can likely find somewhere in Toronto. Anything save something truly Canadian. What a paradox!
If there’s one thing this country is abundant in though it’s maple in all its variants. Maple cookies — check. Maple butter — check. Maple candy — check. Maple syrup — yep. Maple in baked goods — lots. Maple pie — ??? You got it. I remember being a bit surprised at the latter when I first heard of it while being on an exchange program as a student in Quebec — trying to imagine what it would taste like was difficult somehow. Well I’ll break the mystery for you — it tastes like delicious maple custard. Very simple, very unique, very flavorful, and most delicious. Like a much improved maple-infused butter tart. It’s traditionally made with eggs or heavy cream and a store-bought glutinous pie crust, but I took care of that for ya ? so now we can all enjoy some!
In keeping with tradition, the real recipe here is for the pie filling. The crust could be any crust you like. I’m including in the recipe one of the crusts I used (my favorite one for this pie), but you can easily use a small portion of the crust from this blueberry pie (nut-free | make a 1/3 of the recipe) for instance (which is what I actually used in the version pictured here). The pastry crust from this bakewell tart (nut-free | make a 1/3 of the recipe) will work great too. Or see the crust from these tarts (nut-free & grain-free | make 1/2 the recipe). The only kind of crust that doesn’t work here is my usual go-to ground nuts and dates kind of a crust — there’s some kind of wizardry that happens in the process: the nuts will rise to the top as it bakes and you’ll be left with a crustless pie!
I also made this in my mini 6″ pie plate. If you don’t have a dish that small, use any other oven safe dish of a similar size, or make a few tarts instead in a muffin pan or ramekins. Otherwise, triple the recipe for a 9″ plate.
Last but not least, the pecans are optional but absolutely scrumptious. If you want to make this a nut-free pie, use ground sunflower seeds instead or omit altogether. I made this once with cashew pieces instead and that was delicious too if you’re out of pecans.
- 6 tbsp white rice flour (I used a finely ground one | see notes above for grain-free crust)
- 2 tbsp cashew butter (see notes above for a nut-free crust)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/16 tsp salt
- ¼ cup crushed pecan pieces (see notes above re: nut-free version)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup coconut cream (scooped out of a can of full fat coconut milk chilled overnight)
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 6" pie plate (or see notes above for alternative dish sizes). Set aside.
- Process all crust ingredients in a food processor until the mixture begins to form a ball (note if the mixture is too runny, add a bit more flour, if too dry, add a bit more maple syrup). Form the mixture into a ball with your hands and knead briefly, then flatten into a disk with your hands (if making a larger pie, you can roll the disk out with a rolling pin between two sheets of parchment). Place the dough disk inside the pie dish and form into a crust along the base and walls with your hands.. Sprinkle the base evenly with the crushed pecan pieces (in filling ingredients). Set aside.
- Place all remaining filling ingredients in a small blender (I used the magic bullet again) and process until smooth. Pour this mixture over the crust and the pecans. (Note: it will be very liquid at this stage -- that is normal. It will set as it bakes).
- Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes. Allow the pie to cool thoroughly to set before slicing (ideally overnight or at least a few hours). Enjoy!
Disclaimer: this post contains an affiliate link to the pie plate I used.