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 ⅓ 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 ⅓ of the recipe) will work great too. Or see the crust from these tarts (nut-free & grain-free | make ½ 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.Print
Canadian Maple Pie
A delicious Canadian classic: maple pie, made without gluten, eggs, or dairy. Tastes like maple custard. Refined sugar-free!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6" pie
- Category: pie
- Method: baked
- Cuisine: dessert
- 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!
How much would you increase the bake time if you are tripling the recipe??
Hi Stephanie, I haven't tried this recipe in a larger form yet myself, but I'd start with the same baking time, and check on the pie at that point and see how it's doing, and just keep an eye on it from there in 5-10 minute increments. If the edges seem nice and golden and the middle looks evenly cooked all around it's time to pull it out.
Is there anything I can substitute the coconut cream for?
Hi Sabrina, I haven't tried this, but one idea is to maybe try a cashew cream that's similar in thickness to the coconut cream. Not really sure if that'll work, but it's the only thing that comes to mind -- something I'd play around with if I had to make this without the coconut. If you give it a try, would love to hear how it turned out for you.
Hi there, Mrs.Audrey! I just wanted to ask you can I replace the rice flour with coconut flour, the cashew butter with coconut butter, and also, is there something I can replace coconut cream and tapioca for? Thanks so much for such an wonderful recipie. So sorry. Im sure that's a lot
Oh my! Just realized this pie needs to be baked! Would dehydrating work, or maybe leaving it to chill in the fridge for overnight? I dont bake!
Hi Lesei. I love helping with substitutions and I love that you're not afraid of playing around with ingredients, but in this case that's basically changing every main ingredient, and then not baking it -- I don't think it'll work unfortunately as it would require an entire recipe overhaul to make sure things act and taste as they should. However, there are lots of no-bake and raw cakes and pies and tarts on the blog (though they do require a food processor, which I know you mentioned elsewhere yours is currently broken -- so maybe whenever you get a new one you can revisit).
Thanks for your response! Totally! I will leave this one (for now) and I will go and swim in the rest of your amazing no bake deserts! thanks so much! I cant wait till I get a food processor! I have a HUGE sweet tooth! Thanks again!
Think cornstarch can be substituted for the tapioca?
Hi Amanda, yeah that should work just fine. Enjoy it :)
Hi Audrey! I recently had to change to a gluten and dairy free diet so let me tell you that when I saw this recipe I was overwhelmed with joy :) I can't wait to try it!! As I am a Quebecer, there is no need to say that it's is quite hard to live without maple pie! I have a question tho. Is it possible to make this recipe with another kind of butter like tahini butter?
Hi Emilie. I'm so glad the recipe ticks so many boxes then :)
I found that cashew butter gives the crust the best flavor and texture, but if you can't have it then can try something like sunflower seed butter, almond butter, etc. Tahini might work too. If you give any of these a try, would love to hear how it turned out!
Iris Koller says
Audrey, if you use the nut free/grain free crust from your raspberry almond tarts, do you need to pre-bake the crust as you do for the tart recipe? This looks amazing.. I can't wait t try it, (though I am currently focused on all things mango since my neighbors' trees have been amazingly prolific)!
Hi Iris. Mango-rich neighbors sound a dream :)
If you're looking for new things to do with mangoes, here are a few ideas:
But back to this recipe, because the filling has to bake a while here (as compared to the other recipe, where the filling only bakes 5 mins since jam is already largely pre-cooked). So I'd bake it all together in this case.
I made this today with bought pre-made vegan shortcrust pastry. Oh gods, the filling on this was absolutely delicious, better than I'd even dared to hope it would taste! What was surprising too was that it didn't actually taste remotely of coconut, you never would've guessed it even had coconut in it! Just lots of caramelly rich goodness. Taste wise I can actually recommend pre-made vegan shortcrust pastry with this as it not being so sweet actually provided a nice contrast with the very sweet filling. This said, the pastry was an absolute disaster and collapsed because I don't know what I'm doing with pastry and tried to bake it blind without putting anything in it. I also doubled the recipe since I was serving 4 people over 2 days.
Oh, bummer about the pastry :/ But I'm so glad you enjoyed the filling. I agree -- it doesn't taste coconutty. Just caramely and sweet. Hopefully the crust works out better next time so you can enjoy this to its fullest :) The contrast with the not so sweet pastry base does sound nice (I just can never find a vegan + gluten-free + sugar-free crust, so it's not something I've played around with much).
Carol Ann says
Loved it! It's so satisfying to see it's possible to make vegan and gluten free baked goods without compromising on the flavor! :)
Absolutely! <3 So glad you liked it.
Have you tried making this ahead and freezing? Wondering if anyone has tried.
Hi Dee, yes it freezes well.
Fantastic! Will def be making and freezing some mini cupcake pies ahead of time for a party. Thanks for responding!
Do you use a dark maple syrup for this recipe?
Hi Stephanie. I use a light one for this pie, but a dark maple syrup would work just fine too and give it an even stronger flavor. I've used dark in a similar recipe I have on the blog (pecan pie), so I know it's delish :)
Made these into cupcake pies and they were so adorable (who doesn't love a tiny sized pie?!) and DELICIOUS!! Recipe is awesome and easy--love love love
I'm so happy you liked it, Julie! Thank you for sharing :)
Can't wait to try making this! I've been living outside Canada for so long and really craving a test of home. When you leave the pie to set do you do it just at room temperature? Do you heat to serve?
Hi Ana, yes leave it at room temp to set. I did not reheat mine for serving. If you prefer yours warmer, just don't let it cool all the way (it'll be more on the warm & "gooey" side that way though). Enjoy it! Happy almost Canada Day :)
Oh. My. Goodness! I'm a Quebecer in exile in Ontario, Canada and I've been raised on this pie. Your version is simply to die for! EXACTLY how I wanted it to taste. Well done!
Sylvie -- you have no idea how much your comment made me smile :) So happy you enjoyed it! It's been many, many years since I first tried this in Quebec so I was hoping my memory wasn't misleading me ? -- though it was a dessert that's truly hard to forget.
I'M so glad you enjoyed reading my comment? I truly meant every word. Thank you again so much for creating this recipe. That checked one huge box in my family's vegan life. Now, if I could just muster a "meatball" recipe that would give me the right texture, LOL!
Glad to be of service ?
Well, can't help you with the meatballs from my own kitchen, but here's one from my blogging pal Brandi's recipes: http://thevegan8.com/2016/06/08/homemade-italian-vegan-balls/ (I haven't tried, but it has great reviews).
Susan G. Shaw says
What about rhubarb strawberry pie, rhubarb upside down cake, and the classic tradition for Christmas, c arrow pudding with butterscotch sauce. The latter has been identified as a uniquely Canadian Christmas tradition.
Hi Susan. I just made a strawberry rhubarb pie-- love it :) And I do love rhubarb upside down cake too -- I haven't had that yet this year -- thanks for the idea and they definitely cut the list of Canadian desserts, you're right. About the last dessert though -- I've never actually tried that. I've had sticky pudding with butterscotch sauce, but never a Canadian Christmas Pudding... Will have to investigate that one this year. Thank you so much for chiming in!
Sarah | Well and Full says
This looks amazing, Audrey! The texture looks so gooey and perfect ;)
Thanks Sarah -- it us gooey and delicious, but then again so is everything 'maple', as I'm sure you know ;)
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
I'd struggle to name 5 Canadian desserts but maple pie would be top of what I could think of :) I love this veganised version!
Really? That's surprisingly awesome :) Over here not many people know what I'm talking about when I mention it somehow, but I know it's more well known in some parts of the country than others.
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says
I failed the Canadian desserts quiz...big time. "Um maple...something...??" That's about all I got haha! But yes now that you say it I think somewhere I knew nanaimo bars were Canadian. But I didn't even know Maple Pie was a thing. A delicious sweet nutty thing! Maple syrup + coconut cream filling, how can that not be absolute heaven <3
Haha. I figured not many would pass tbh :D Maple something / anything is always nice nonetheless, and I figured people should at least know of maple pie :)