This past week our country turned 147 years old, and although it’s a relative youngster in terms of countries, (after all, our neighbor to the south is ripe, old 238 today) I think it’s established itself very well. When you think of Canada you think of polite people, wide, open spaces, 4 very definite seasons of weather, and last but not least, hockey.

But let’s not forget that we’re also a culture based on a wide variety of delicious dishes too, and because of those definite weather cycles, there are some uniquely Canadian recipes that are only really available to be made in the summer.

I find the best Canadian recipes are passed down from generation to generation, coming all the way from the Pioneer women who settled in our country in the late 1800’s, so I’m going to share a few summer gems from my Grandma’s kitchen.

Grandma’s Pie Crust

For my Grandma, pie crust was always a labor of love – something to fuss over and perfect until the crust was more commented on than the filling of the pie. This is her secret pie crust recipe, and she always told me it was passed down from her mother and her mother before her. Although animal lard was used back in her days on the farm (she kept a bucket of fat underneath the cupboard), I tend to skip the lard and opt for organic butter instead. It might not be exactly the same as Grandma’s but it’s close.

 

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
4 tablespoons water

 

Directions

In large bowl mix flour and salt. You can cut in your shortening with butter knife old style or use the pastry attachment of your stand mixer.

In separate bowl, mix together egg, vinegar, and water. Drizzle wet mixture into dry mixture, cutting it in.

Roll out dough.

Makes 2 pie shells that fit into 9 inch pie pans.

Now that you’ve got your pie crust, here’s 2 authentic Canadian pies to try:

Apple Saskatoon Pie

Nothing takes me back to my roots faster than a piece of Saskatoon berry pie. We’d wait all year to pick these plump berries from my Grandparent’s farm near Saskatoon, and when we did, my Grandma would make 10 pies that would be gone in a day (she did have 13 kids, so we were all lucky to get one piece).

 

Ingredients:

1 Grandma’s pie crust (or your favourite recipe) with top and bottom shells

Filling

7 cups (1.75L) sliced peeled baking apples
1 cup (250 mL) Saskatoon Berries
3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice

Directions

Filling: In large bowl, combine apples, blackberries, sugar, flour and lemon juice; set aside.

On lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry to generous 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness; fit into 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate. Trim to leave 3/4-inch (2 cm) overhang. Scrape in filling.

Roll out remaining pastry. Whisk egg yolk with 2 tsp water; brush some over pastry rim. Fit pastry over filling; trim to leave 3/4-inch (2 cm) overhang. Fold overhang under bottom pastry rim; seal and flute edge. Brush top with remaining egg wash; sprinkle with sugar. Cut steam vents in top.

Bake on baking sheet in bottom third of 425°F (220°C) oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F (180°C); bake until bottom is golden and filling is bubbly, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on rack.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb seems to grow really well in Saskatchewan, and although I’ve tried several times to grow a plant out here, I seem to have a black thumb when it comes to growing rhubarb. My Grandma’s rhubarb plant had stalks so huge you would have swore it was a palm tree, and she’d always have to give away some or send it off to the town market because she had an overabundance of rhubarb. With what she kept, she made Rhubarb cobblers, Rhubarb tarts, and my favourite, Strawberry Rhubarb pie.

 

Ingredients:

1 Grandma’s pie crust (or your favourite recipe) with top and bottom shells

4 cups rhubarb, chopped

2 cups strawberries, sliced

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg, beaten for glaze

sugar (optional)

Directions

In a bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon.

On lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry and line a nine-inch pie plate.

Spoon in filling.

Roll out pastry for top crust; using pastry wheel or knife, cut into 1-inch wide strips.

Brush pastry rim with some of the beaten egg.

Gently weave strips over the pie to form lattice; trim and flute the edge.

Brush lattice with beaten egg. Sprinkle top with sugar if using.

Bake on a baking sheet with sides in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes. Tip: If you do not have a cookie sheet handy, make a drip catcher out of foil paper, larger than the bottom of the pie plate, and place it under the pie plate and up the sides loosely.

Reduce heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 50 to 60 minutes longer or until rhubarb is tender, filling thickened, and the crust is golden.Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting

Mint Nanaimo Bars
Mint isn’t one of those things you think about very often, but every June mint plants crop up in my yard and cover my other trees with leaves that are fun to chew on and even more fun to use in baking. Instead of peppermint flavouring, cut up some fresh mint leaves and use them in this traditional Nanaimo Bar recipe.
 

Ingredients:

Base:

1/2 c butter
1/4 c white sugar

5 tbsp cocoa powder

1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs

1 c unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 c chopped walnuts

Filling:
1/3 c butter

1/4 c milk

3 tbsp custard powder

3 c icing sugar

1 tsp peppermint flavouring
2 drops of green food colouring
Topping:
8 oz pkg of semi sweet chocolate morsels
2 tbsp butter

 

Directions

Base:

Melt butter in saucepan.

Add sugar and cocoa. Mix well. Allow mixture to cool.

Whisk egg with vanilla. Whisk into cooled butter mixture.

Add graham crackers, coconut and walnuts.

Press evenly into greased 9 x 9 square pan.

Chill for at least 20 mintues

Filling:

Whip butter. Add in custard powder and milk.

Gradually add in sugar, flavouring and food colour.

Spread over base with spatula and return to the fridge.

Topping:

Melt chocolate and butter over water bath. Remove and cool down.

Add on top of the filling layer. Spread with spatula to get even layer.

Return to fridge for another 15 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve.

A Canadian summer is a beautiful thing, and whenever I find myself reflecting on past summers growing up, I always think about all of the amazing summer recipes my Grandma would make. Try a few this summer, and if you have any Canadian summer recipes to share, I’d love to see them.

When making these delicious summer recipes, I make good use of these kitchen appliances. Best Buy has a well stocked kitchen appliance section, so head over there and check it out. 


The Norpro Steel Pie Pan is just like Grandma’s pie pans.

For the perfect pie crust or a well put together filling, you’ll be a mix master with the Breville Stand Mixer.

Cutting apples for pie is a breeze with the Oxo Good Grips Apple Wedger.