This is the time of year to prepare the traditional French Canadian spiced meat pie, that is served on Christmas eve (and tested before!!). The recipe can vary from family to family, but this is the best of course!! It has become part of my tradition for the past 22 years and it is a dinner I look forward to eating. The tender cooked meat is lightly spiced with cloves and a touch of cinnamon, wrapped in a short crisp pastry case which brings the spirt of Christmas to the dinner table. The Tourtiére freezes really well and are perfect to reheat Christmas eve while you are busy relaxing and drinking champagne! It will cook away slowly in the oven without having to watch over it. One less job to do...
Pastry for four (five) pies :
1 kg or 7 cups of plain four
500 g or 1 lb of fat (butter or margarine)
480 ml or two cups of water
two eggs (+1 more egg for the egg wash)
2 teaspoons of vinegar
2 teaspoons of salt
(there was enough pastry to make an apple pie too! )
Filling for four pies :
800 g or 1 lb 12 oz of minced veal (shoulder)
800 g lb 12 oz of pork (shoulder)
2 sticks of celery finely diced
4 onions finely diced
1.5 teaspoon of ground cloves
1.5 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon of celery salt
1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
2 cloves of garlic
Make you pastry as you usual do, cutting the fat into pea sized pieces. Mix and bring together until smooth - putting into a zip lock with flour in it. Leave it to rest for an hour in the refrigerator.
Finely dice the onions and the celery. Cook them on a low heat in a big pan without colouring them for ten minutes.
Add the two meats, cooking and turning without browning.
Add the spices and the crushed garlic.
Cover (just up to the top of the meat) with water, bring to the boil and leave it simmering for an hour.
(Do not let boil dry - you need a small amount of liquid to go in the pies).
Once the meat has cooled down, make the pies.
Roll out the pastry in sections, two circles per pie with a larger circle for the base, brushing egg white in the base so the pastry doesn't go soggy. I like to use tinfoil cases but pie tins are good too.
Fill the pies without pressing too heavily down.
Cover the top with the second circle and seal the pastry - more importantly, make a hole in the middle for the steam to escape.
Decorate your pie and brush the top with a mixture of egg yolk and milk (twice the quantity of the yolk).
Cook in the oven at 180 °c / 350° f for 15 minutes and then turning it down to 150°c / 300° f for an hour.
If eating right away, add 15 more minutes or until golden. If you want to freeze them, cool them down and freeze putting a foil cover on them - when you are ready to use them, they can go into the oven from frozen at 150° c or 300° f for an hour.