Original Old-time Quebec Sugar Pie





Introduction: Original Old-time Quebec Sugar Pie

About: I love to learn new stuff. I am, by trade, a computer geek, but my true passion is the arts... ALL the arts. I have made movies (both in front and behind the camera), photography, pencil and pen art, comic b...

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

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

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

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

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.


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    41 Discussions

    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.

    1 reply

    LOL @ "stupidly good".

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

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

    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

    1 reply

    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!

    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!

    4 replies

    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 wilrobi@hotmail.com if you have one.

    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.

    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.

    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.


    3 years ago

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

    1 reply

    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.

    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.

    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??

    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.

    1 reply

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

    1 reply

    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.

    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 ;)