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-pieMakes 8 servings

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

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 “Sugar Pie

  1. Ann Miller says:

    Ooops! No “heavy” cream listed as an ingredient – how much? And how “heavy” please? Cereal cream (10%), coffee cream (18%) or whipping cream (32%)? Thank you.

  2. Elina Mavromatis says:


  3. Anne White says:

    When my daughter and I took the Bury Your Dead Walking Tour in Old Québec last summer, we were served Maple Sugar Pie during our visit to Le Petit Coin Latin.
    I rarely eat sweets, but I have to say that this pie was to die for. :)

  4. Sue Jackson says:

    Because food plays such an important part of the Three Pines books, this series is especially interesting. This recipe looks like a keeper! I have loved reading about all the food that the characters prepare/eat/think about. Thank you for sharing these recipes. I’m anxious for the next recipe and the next Gamache book.

  5. MJ Samer says:

    This sounds too sweet, but so many of the things they served in the cafe/bistro made me want to hop on a plane and go there before lunch!

  6. Susan Fish says:

    I’ve had sugar pie before. This is a great recipe. Yes, it’s super sweet, but you only need a small slice. And believe me, you *need* a small slice.

  7. Carol Lowe-Clay says:

    In Vermont, we borrow Quebec’s tarte au sucre. It’s a gem; a little slice is a lot.
    I’ve never seen it with a double crust like in the photo, though.

  8. Sherrill Whittingstall says:

    So many memories that I can smell and taste that pie !

  9. Anne Popoff says:

    Double crust not necessary. In Belgium this is tart au sucre, with brown sugar, and obviously not maple syrup. Un vrai délice!!!

  10. Anne Popoff says:

    Soory for typo – tarte au sucre…

  11. Karen Langford says:

    A “must make”! I already have all ingredients except the pie crust. Easy peasy! Thanks

  12. Janet Howe says:

    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.

    • Kristin Fields says:

      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.

      • Bernice says:

        I would like a copy of your pie recipe

      • Sonja says:

        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!

  13. Katie Robert says:

    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.

  14. Caterina Geuer says:

    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?

  15. ANNE-MARIE says:

    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!

    • Sue H. says:

      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.

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