Savor π Day

14 Mar


At mention of the word, most people visualize a delicious apple, or other fruit pie. My mind goes straight for lemon meringue. But, if I take a moment and go a little deeper, I get to something more savory.

My mother is French-Canadian and nothing is more French-Canadian than that savoriest of pies: the pork tourtière.


My mother made it every Christmas and told us that it was what her very Catholic family ate when they came home from midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

My vegetarian sister calls it pork torture, but living far away from family, I have taken on this cultural icon as part of my Christmas celebration. Many cultures have similar meat pies, but the spicing of this one makes it perfect for Christmas, or whenever you want to eat pork tourtière.

Here is my mom’s recipe, with my adaptations an annotations


1-1/2 pounds ground pork

1 large baking potato

1 large onion, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 dash of allspice

1/2 cup of water

1 recipe for a 9″ double crust pie (Unlike my mother, I buy them out of the freezer section)

1 egg , beaten

1/4 teaspoon paprika

  1. Bake potato until done, 30-40 minutes, in a pre-heated 400º oven. (I microwave the potato).
  2. Peel and mash the potato, or, if microwaved, mash the potato with the peel. Mom always said that’s where all the vitamins were.
  3. Place the potato, ground pork, onion, spices and water in a large frying pan and simmer until very thick. This could take up to an hour.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare your pastry if making from scratch, like Mom, otherwise follow the package directions.
  5. Line a pie dish with pastry. Spoon in filing, spreading evenly.
  6. Cover with top crust.  Brush this with beaten egg and sprinkle with paprika. Cut steam vent(s),
  7. Bake for 50 minutes at 350ºF (175ºC).
  8. If edges brown too fast, cover with a strip of foil.
  9. Serve warm.




10 Responses to “Savor π Day”

  1. wonderingandwondering March 14, 2017 at 5:49 am #

    Adrienne — What a gorgeous pie! I do love savory pies more than sweet ones. My husband and I both lived in the UK at one point, and got hooked on meat pies. Will need to make this one. Thank you, and happy Pi Day, indeed!

  2. Lisa C March 14, 2017 at 6:38 am #

    The one and only time I have made tortiere I was surprised to find cinnamon as an ingredient. We are not fans of this local delicacy, but the locals say the legion is the best place to buy it. They sell them frozen as a fundraiser. Do you make your own poutine too?

  3. lynnedorfman March 14, 2017 at 6:42 am #

    My mouth is watering! It sounds so delicious! I want to try it – thank you! I actually could feel its warming power as I peer out my kitchen window at the winter-white landscape and listen to the sound of sleet beating against the windows. Just what I needed! (Although I have to admit, lemon meringue is my very favorite pie with my grandma’s cookie crust!)

  4. cindaroo42 March 14, 2017 at 7:22 am #

    YUM! I’m inspired to make a pie on this snow day! MMMM I’ll save that recipe!

  5. arjeha March 14, 2017 at 7:50 am #

    I have heard of this pie but it sounds delicious. Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely make a copy of this and try it.

  6. elsie March 14, 2017 at 9:03 am #

    Happy Pi Day! Oh that looks so good! Not sure if I’d like the spices with my pork. I had to laugh at your sisters name for the pie.

  7. terierrol March 14, 2017 at 9:53 am #

    Canadian meat pie also one of my favorites. My Dad was French-Canadian and my Mom, of Lithuanian heritage, learnt how to make it for him and us. My husband loves the dash of cinnamon in his pies. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Janet Townsley March 14, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

    Wow! This looks amazing! It’s nice how different foods and scents remind us of the holidays. I loved that your sister called it “Pork Torture!” Very funny! Thanks for sharing.

  9. wahooteacher March 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

    This looks (and sounds) amazing! I’m so glad that you included the recipe because I definitely want to try it!

  10. JudyK March 14, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    Pork Torture…too funny! I’ve never made a meat pie before, but this one sounds pretty good. Definitely worth trying sometime! ~JudyK

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