Introduction: Original Old-time Quebec Sugar Pie

Picture of Original Old-time Quebec Sugar Pie

A bit of background...

A few years ago I was browsing the Web and found a post by a lady that was doing research on sugar pies in the US. She had found hundreds of different recipes, but she mentioned that she had heard the original sugar pie recipe only had three ingredients and was mixed right in the pie crust with a finger. She had failed to track down that particular recipe. Here is that recipe. It has been in my family since forever. So I thought it would be perfect for this contest.

Without further delay, here is the original old-time Québec sugar pie recipe.

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

You will need:

One pie shell (I cheat and don’t make my own. I find the store bought frozen shells quite good enough)
One cup of brown sugar - packed (but not too tightly)
One tablespoon flour
Half a pint of whipping cream minus 2 tablespoons (for the metric inclined folks, that’s exactly 200ml).

You will note in the picture that I have enough cream for two pies. Yeah... we like it that much.

Step 2: Preparation

Picture of Preparation

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

I'll give you the old and the new methods. I use the old method, my wife uses the new one. I swear the old method makes a better pie... but maybe it's just me.

Original method of preparation: dump the sugar and the flour into the pie shell. Mix the flour and sugar with your hands so that the flour is well mixed into the sugar. Dump the cream on top. Mix with your fingers, breaking any sugar clumps until the mix is uniform (see photos)..

Modern way of doing it: mix the flour and sugar in a bowl. Add the cream and mix thoroughly with a spoon. Dump into pie shell.

Step 3: Baking

Picture of Baking

Since this is an old-style recipe from the wood stove era, there is no specified amount of time to bake the pie. It will take between 45 and 75 minutes depending on your oven and depending on the ratio of ingredients. A pie with a little more flour than usual will take less time, one where there a bit more cream will take longer. Your baking time will vary from pie to pie.

To check if the pie is fully baked, start checking it at around 45 minutes. The pie filling will start boiling from the outside and move toward the middle. It will first boil with large bubbles which will gradually disappear to be replaced with small tight bubbles. When the entire surface is bubbling with these tight bubbles and the edge of the filling is starting to dry up, the pie is ready. A good test is to shake the pie back and forth a bit. If the center is still liquid, it needs to bake some more. When shaking produces a movement that looks like soft pudding, it’s ready. The pie I baked for this instructable took 65 minutes.

Step 4: Cool and Enjoy

Picture of Cool and Enjoy

Cool the pie completely to room temperature. The filling stays dangerously hot for a long time. Cool for at least 2-3 hours. Serve at room temperature by itself or with ice cream or whipped cream (for those with a strong liver).

This pie never lasts for very long. It has been known to disappear after a few midnight trips to the kitchen.



iminthebathroom (author)2017-10-18

3Rd time making this, stupidly good. Added a dash of Lorann butter rum flavouring oil, (usually reserved for hard candy). Now its verging on silly good, though honestly not required. Have a friend who can't have lactose, I wonder if coconut or almond milk might work. Other sugar pie recipes have used evaporated milk or even regular milk so I don't think it's the fat content. Have to experiment a little on this. Your recipe is still the top though.

LOL @ "stupidly good".

But I have to agree. Now the Lorann butter rum oil... that's new and it sounds fantastic!! Have to try.

bastien.brenu (author)2017-08-28

I got to say, I was affraid by this amount of sugar & cream. but fact is, it was really good! great job dude!

Samjean04 (author)2017-01-10

I Love this recipe. It is the BEST sugar pie recipe. And made in the old fashion tradition ( in the Shell ) slow cooked. Delicious! Thanks

thorswolf (author)Samjean042017-01-11

Thanks for that.

My wife, who is a pretty mean baker, managed to improve it slightly by making it as tarts. She keeps the same proportions and mixes everything in a bowl with a mixer. Then she fills tart shells almost to the rim and bakes at 325 until set. The beauty is that the filling overflows a bit and the edges of the tart become this yummy crusty sugary whatever that is to die for. Give it a whirl!

dnamama (author)2013-11-27

So excited to have this for my American Thanksgiving 2013 pie! However, it's been cooking 85 minutes and is still very thin. I followed everything exactly, except that I have celiac disease so could not use wheat flour for the 2T flour....had to use corn flour. Any ideas? Has anyone else needed to cook it for a super long time? Can't wait to eat it!

wilrobi (author)dnamama2014-12-21

what kind of pie crust did you use. I also have celiac disease and so far have not found a good pie crust recipe. Can you message me at if you have one.

JoAnnM29 (author)wilrobi2016-12-04

there is a gluten free flour product called CUP4CUP. i have used it several types of pastry and cake recipes and find there to be absolutely no difference from "regular" flour.

thorswolf (author)wilrobi2014-12-21

Unfortunately, I use a store bought pie crust. Not so good for you.
There are a number of pie crust recipes that use alternatives such as blanched almond flour. As to the flour that you put in the mix, it's a thickening agent. So use whatever you would use to thicken a gravy.
Hope it helps.

thorswolf (author)dnamama2013-11-28

How did it turn out?
I'm not sure about other types of flour. The flour is basically a thickening agent in this case, just as you would use for making gravy.
Let me know how it pans out. I'll be monitoring the comments to see if you need assistance.

Dogwet (author)2015-05-06

Mine still isn't done it's been 2 hours

thorswolf (author)Dogwet2015-05-07

That is very strange, it has never taken two hours. The longest I've had was 1h45 with an oven that I found out later had a wonky thermostat. It might be an ingredients thing. Since there are only three ingredients, missing the mark on the cream or flour can have a large impact. Ensure that you add only 200ml cream / or one cup minus a couple of tablespoons (not the whole container). Also ensure that your tablespoons of flour are not level spoonfuls but heaping spoonfuls. Best of luck and let me know.

lmcguire605 (author)2015-03-08

When my mom made the pie it was very thin - plus the sugar was hard. Her receipt was brown sugar and butter with a drop of milk on top of the pie - bake and your done. I don't think she ever used cream??? Looking back I wish I knew more, I still miss her cooking.

jessica.baughmantempo (author)2015-01-28

oh my goodness I wm hopeful this is similar to the recipe that my great grandmother used to use! She never wrote it down ( of course) but I remember the pie well. She served it with milk. I do remember the filling was very thin. Is your version a thick filling??

nsanterre. (author)2014-10-17

for the celiac commentor...use evoprated milk instead of heavy cream and leave out the flour completely. You end up with a chewy delicous pie center.

thorswolf (author)nsanterre.2014-10-20

Excellent! It's great that you took the time to try options. Thanks for that!

Creative Hacker (author)2013-10-16

is Whipped cream bad for your liver? o.o

marcimenard (author)2013-01-17

Would the measurements for maple syrup and brown sugar be the same if the sugar was to be replaced by syrup?

thorswolf (author)marcimenard2013-01-18

Thanks for the question. Usually, the brown sugar would be replaced by grated maple sugar. For a maple syrup pie, the recipe I know calls for 1 cup of syrup, 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of cream and 1 egg.
Hope it helps.

acexkeikai (author)2011-07-11

I agree with both comments and I am also from Quebec... Maple syrup or no cream... My mother always made it with milk and they do taste awesome :)
Maybe I should do a Grand-pere dans le sirop instructables ;)

thorswolf (author)acexkeikai2011-07-11

Oh those are sooo good. Yes, you should add the grand-pères.

acexkeikai (author)thorswolf2011-07-11

I will once the weather is more... suited for it... too darn humid right now to eat such wintertime favorites but I'll remember to do it :)

thorswolf (author)acexkeikai2011-07-26

Excellent! Let me know when you post. I make grand-pères as well and would love to compare recipes.

bajablue (author)thorswolf2012-02-28

Thank you both for the inspiration to add grand-peres to Quebec Sugar Pie!

Here is the recipe I came up with:  French Sugar Dumpling Pie

 hope you approve!!! ;-)

ac1D (author)2011-07-11

Being from Québec, I swear the original sugar pie had no cream!
But well, everyone has his own way of doing these :-)

CatTrampoline (author)ac1D2011-07-19

It's that way with so many of the classic comfort foods (potato salad comes to mind). Everyone's recipe is a little different, but none of them are wrong. I voted for this entry on the strength of it being an old family favorite recipe & regional tradition. It sounds way too sweet for my taste, but vive la difference!

thorswolf (author)CatTrampoline2011-07-26

Thanks Cat!

ac1D (author)CatTrampoline2011-07-21

Bonbon au patate
Gateau froid aux café
are the best :)

bajablue (author)ac1D2011-07-20

This recipe is new to me, but it looks scrumptious. I love cream... I'm using it! ;-)

bajablue (author)bajablue2011-07-22


Mine didn't turn out as pretty but it was delicious!!!

I'll add some chocolate chips 1/2 way through the baking next time I bake this.

thorswolf (author)bajablue2011-07-26

Excellent!! I've never heard of adding chocolate chips in the mix, but you know what? That's the great thing about cooking: you can chnage recipes along the way and make them new again.

cloudifornia (author)2011-07-18

Light or dark brown sugar?

thorswolf (author)cloudifornia2011-07-26

Either can be used. I use light brown sugar.

ac1D (author)cloudifornia2011-07-19

Most often it's the dark brown, but they have been done with white aswell, they just look more yellowish and they are less solid.

bajablue (author)2011-07-20

I'm baking this pie in about 20 minutes and will share my results... but what did you mean by:

"Serve with ice cream or whipped cream (for those with a strong liver)." ?

thorswolf (author)bajablue2011-07-26

Aah, some more family history there. I had two uncles who absolutely adored sugar pie and whenever there was some baked at family gatherings, these two uncles would destroy many slices of this pie along with heaps of whipped cream. They would invariably wind up complaining of "liver pains" later on, ergo the "strong liver" comment. :)

maltesergr8 (author)2011-07-17

Wow... This pie is wonderful!! Who would have thought that so few ingredients could taste so good ;o)

thorswolf (author)maltesergr82011-07-18

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. We get that reaction all the time. :)

l8nite (author)2011-07-11

WOW that sounds GOOD !

ChrysN (author)2011-07-11

This sounds delicious and so easy to make too, I'll have to remember this recipe.

thorswolf (author)2011-07-11

I'm from Québec city as well. I've seen many many recipes that call for eggs, or more flour, or what have you. The title may be a misnomer as I believe the real original recipe calls for maple sugar and was known as a maple sugar pie. Once again, just three ingredients: maple sugar, flour and heavy cream. This is derived from that original recipe as maple sugar became more difficult to find and much more expensive.

About This Instructable




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