LOUISE PENNY’S

THE CRUELEST MONTH: SUGAR PIE

THE CRUELEST MONTH: SUGAR PIE

Ruth stood on the step of the church, balancing a plate of thick maple-cured ham sandwiches on Sarah’s bread, still steaming from the boulangerie, homemade potato salad with eggs and mayo, and a huge slice of sugar pie.
—The Cruelest Month

Sugar Pie 1

Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

One 9-inch (24-cm) unbaked pie shell, homemade or store-bought

  • ¾ cup (85 g) dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

1. Prebake the pie shell: Whether using homemade or store-bought, be sure the rolled out shell is chilled, not frozen. With the rack in the center position, preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Poke the bottom of the shell with the tines of a fork at least 20 times. Bake the shell until the edges are light golden brown and the bottom is very lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Many recipes suggest lining the shell with foil and filling it with beans or pie weights. This is unnecessary if you check the pie shell halfway through baking and use the same fork to poke down any bubbles that have formed during baking. Remove the shell and cool to room temperature. Reduce the oven temperature from 375°F (191°C) to 350°F (177°C).

2. Make the filling: Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat just until the edges are bubbling. Pour the cream into a bowl, add the sugar, and whisk until smooth. Add the maple syrup, flour, and eggs and whisk until smooth.

3. Bake: Pour the batter into the prebaked shell and bake at 350°F (177°C) oven just until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pie pan, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack completely before serving. The pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.

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Discussion on “THE CRUELEST MONTH: SUGAR PIE”

I am a big fan and just discovered this website. The recipes are greatly appreciated. I am looking forward to trying them.

Just found this , and am so excited. I will be trying each of the recipes. I think i need to re-read each of the books too. I will be reading the new ones with a whole different eye!!

I just made this sugar pie but wondered if the brown sugar is supposed to be “packed”? As I’m just taking it out of the oven, I hope so (Love Ruth! and all the Three Pines characters)

This dessert seems to be in the same family as our English Treacle Tart – not that it contains treacle at all but what we know as Golden Syrup! There are as many recipes for this as there are cooks who make it, but my favourite was a pie made with different types of pastry on top and bottom. Sadly lost now, perhaps a good thing for my expanding waistline!

i think this should be stored in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. you’re making a custard of cream/eggs, after all. i think this requires refrigeration to make leftovers safe.

My experience of all the luscious food described in reading Louise’s books is feeling closer to the moment with her characters. I hadn’t realized that until looking at this blog. It truly impacts my imagination, my “smell memories” are turned on, and I am sitting in one of the odd antique chairs in the bistro being a part of the hum and bustle, and the intrigues! I know that is what leaves me warm and cozy reading her stories. Three Pines is my new fantasy world.

I recently came across my grandmother’s recipe for sugar pie. Memere was from Canada and her recipe is slightly different. I’ll try Tree Pines’ and compare.

It sounds wonderful! Does it taste similar to butter tarts? I used to love those when I was a kid.
Can’t wait to try it!

Oh my,this pie sounds yummy!Thank you for the recipe.
My husband and I own all the Gamache books,treasure and reread them often.Both the pie and the books are like a little slice of Heaven.

Mmmmmmmmmm – sugar pie! How I love it. Real maple sugar is one thing I miss from my days in Canada. I had Amish sugar pie a few years ago, in Lancaster County, but I’m afraid it wasn’t the same at all, and didn’t have that wonderful taste and consistency. Besides the sugar pie, I think I need some potato salad now, too!

An antidote to the excessive sweetness may be a teaspoon (or half-teaspoon) of vinegar in the filling, Several Chess pie recipes (US, southern, molasses pies suggest this.

Moi– extra maple syrup, less brown sugar.

Just as with pecan pie, you can cut that cloying sweetness by topping it with whipped or ice cream.
Boy it sucks to be a diabetic sometimes.
Is shoo fly pie anything like this? I’ve heard there are two versions, one being a little moister than the other.

Québec Tarte au Sucre is never served with a top crust. The cream sometimes rises because it was not blended correctly with all the ingredients…Try is warm with some vanilla ice cream….you only do this once a year but you remember all year long how good it was! Memories from my childhood in Montréal…Thanks!

All my relatives in Quebec always made this dish with a top crust. And a slightly different version was to put an approximately 1″ layer of maple sugar crumbled (looks like brown sugar) over bottom pie crust. Sprinkle flour on top till just about covered and almost can’t see the sugar, lots of pats of butter all around the top and enough cream or milk to just moisten (don’t over do or will be runny). Put top crust on and bake until crust is browning.
This formed its own creamy filling. Wish I had pictures! and could be more definite about the measurement of the ingredients. One of those things I learned from my aunts and grand-mère by watching.

I like sweets, and I love salty nut type goodies even more. I remember reading one of your books (can’t at this moment remember which one) and the characters were always retrieving a hand full of cashews from a bowl that seemed to be constantly passed around. I couldn’t finish the book until I had gone shopping and poured my own nuts into a bowl–yum Were your cashews somehow sprinkled with herbs and salt etc. to make them irresistable?

The recipe only calls for the one crust that the batter is put into. I don’t think there is a top crust in the picture. I think maybe it looks that way because the cream rose to the top when the pie was baked and looks like a top crust. It looks like it would be a yummy pie.

This is very similar to the pie made in Indiana that is often called a Hoosier Cream Pie. It has white or brown sugar, cream, some vanilla and flour. It is usually credited as a creation of the Amish or Shaker communities that settled in Indiana. It is often dusted with nutmeg on top.

I have a recipe similar to the Indiana cream pie that also has cinnamon in it. It is not as sweet as the one with maple syrup. It was passed down from my grandmother in Missouri, to my mother, and then to me in Iowa. I want to pass it on to my grandchildren. I can eat the whole pie, but not in one sitting.

Could you please send me the recipe also. I used to make a ‘sugar cream’ pie that had cinnamon in it also when my children were young. Now they are in their 40’s asking for it again & I cannot find it!
Thank you!

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