Friday, 26 April 2019

"Sweet Canada" Iconic Desserts


Canada Post has just issued a new booklet of stamps celebrating iconic desserts unique to Canada. I love them -- both the desserts and the stamps! I even love how the stamp booklet looks like a recipe card, LOL!

For the benefit of non-Canadian readers, here are descriptions of the five desserts near and dear to our hearts --

1. Sugar Pie


This is a traditional Quebec dessert made with brown sugar or maple syrup. It's a very old dessert brought to New France (1534-1763) by French colonists. I've eaten it only once in my life about 40 years ago when a Quebecoise friend made it for me in Manitoba. It is tooth-achingly sweet, as the name implies.

2. Butter Tart


Apparently butter tarts were created in Ontario in the 1800s by African-America ex-slaves who had escaped to Canada to gain their freedom. Butter tarts are essentially pecan pie filling without pecans (since these do not grow in Canada as they did in the Deep South). Today, it is an ongoing taste controversy in this country whether "true" butter tarts should be plain or contain raisins or even (*gasp*) walnuts. I'm not a purist though -- I'll eat any kind!

3. Saskatoon Pie


A western Canadian (and personal) favourite! Although saskatoon berries are now commercially farmed, when I was a kid you could only get them by going out on the prairies and picking them yourself off a wild saskatoon bush. It's hard to describe their unique flavour to anyone who has never eaten them, but I'll try -- saskatoons are sort of like intense, tart, very small, gritty kind of blueberries.

As Canada Post states, "A staple for Indigenous peoples and early settlers, the berries are high in fibre, protein and antioxidants." The name comes from a Cree word which was also used for the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

I love having saskatoon pie every summer -- what a treat!

4. Nanaimo Bars


Canada Post's comprehensive synopsis states: "The Nanaimo Bar, a no-bake dessert bar, is named after the city of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. A crumb crust of chocolatey coconut is topped with rich, creamy custard and covered with a layer of melted chocolate." When I was a kid, every mom and grandma in Canada knew how to make Nanaimo Bars. I'm sure they still do. I must confess, though, that Nanaimo Bars have never been a personal favorite of mine because I don't like coconut. I know, I know, "picky eater."

5. Blueberry Grunt


This is a traditional East Coast dessert beloved of Maritimers. It's believed to be an early adaptation of English steamed pudding. Blueberry Grunt "gets the name from the sound it makes as the blueberries bubble and steam under a dumpling topping." This is the only one of the featured desserts that I have not personally eaten. Perhaps someday when I'm back in the Maritimes again, I will find it on a restaurant menu. Or maybe I'll run into a Newfoundlander here in Alberta who will make me some!

Okay, reader participation time!

If you have had any or all of these desserts,
which one is your favourite?

Or, if you've never had any of them,
which would you like to try?

53 comments:

Moving with Mitchell said...

I’ve never had any of those although maybe some things similar. I want every one! I love the stamps and the presentation.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Butter tarts all the way. Close to where I live, there is actually something called the "Butter Tart Trail", where you can follow a route that takes you to various points of interest, including restaurants and shops that sell butter tarts. I will take them with or without raisins. Some silly folk even put coconut in them. Never had a Saskatoon berry in my life. -Jenn

Ol'Buzzard said...

They all look delicious. I love pie.
the Ol'Buzzard

Laurie said...

My favourite? All of the above lol,, They are all frequent additions to our dinners, with the exception of Saskatoon berry pie, we only have had that a handful of times, we live in Ontario so that’s the reason but these are all dishes our family have regularly, I made butter tarts and Nanaimo bars for Easter dinner and blueberry grunt just a few days ago, I would say butter tarts are my absolute favourite though, with raisins and walnuts, the stamps are a keeper!

anne marie in philly said...

would like to try ALL OF THEM!

mxtodis123 said...

I have not eaten either but I plan on looking up the recipes for blueberry grunt and Nanaimo bars. The no bake got me.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

what an absolutely cool idea for stamps. i love this! butter tarts MUST be plain...no way around that. plain and runny! i've never had a nanaimo or a saskatoon pie.

Miss Val's Creations said...

I have never had any of these. I wish my Newfie ancestors brought the Blueberry Grunt recipe to us. That sounds up my alley! The stamps are super fun, especially with their unique shapes.

Deedles said...

The only one that sounds even remotely appealing to me is the Nanaimo. I love coconut! I don't care for berry pies, and blueberries only belong in muffins. I swear, I don't know why I'm so fat!

holli said...

I've had the sugar pie. When i worked in Montreal a few years ago, one of my customer service gentleman made it for me. I love all things maple!! He even brought me a can of maple syrup which was awesome.
One thing you forgot to mention that is only in Canada i believe is your Ice Wine. Its super sweet and a dessert wine for sure. I've also been given a few bottles of that. If i had to choose, the pie would be my fave.

DEZMOND said...

First two tarts look kinda fugly and scary, the first one like pig's skin, the second like pig's snout :) But I'd take that berry pie in my pie hole any time! Nanaimos look nom too! I do love me coconut unlike you, missy! Why are there stuffed red peppers amongst the blueSberries in the last one? :)))

brewella deville said...

Since a grunt is in the cobbler and fool family, I guess I can say I've had grunts. I've always wanted to try a nanaimo bar, but this is the first time I've heard coconut was involved. I think I'll have to find a recipe and make one sans coconut. That butter tart is adorable, though, and I'm guessing small enough to make one think that eating four or five at once is a very reasonable thing to do.

Rosemary said...

These are all new to me, but the Saskatoon Pie is the one that appeals to me most of all.

Kirk said...

I'd like to try the Nanaimo Bar. It looks delicious!

Joanne Noragon said...

I've had blueberry grunt. Heaven would be a better last name. I imagine Saskatoon berries are very like elderberries, also harvested in the ditches.

Susan said...

Saskatoon Pie all the way. When I lived in Calgary the Saskatoon Farm was a favourite place to eat Saskatoon pie with Saskatoon ice cream-heaven.

e said...

Awesome stamps! Toothsome looking desserts! I would love to try the Saskatoon pie. I wonder if the berries are similar to huckleberries? Those are also a summer pick-them-yourself-in-the-woods kind of berry, at least around here they are.
I think the Nanaimo Bar would be improved by the omission of coconut in the base... couldn't it 'just' be chocolate?
Ok, I also think Blueberry Grunt is kind of brilliant. Probably delicious as well.

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

This looks... delicious? I have not tried any of those (bet there’s an American equivalent to some) but if I ever go to Canada, I’m gonna make sure I try them ALL.
Now I’m hungry!
XOXO

Liz Hinds said...

In the interest of non-bias I would be happy to eat any of them. I think Sugar tart is probably like our treacle tart made with syrup and breadcrumbs.

Leanna said...

Okay, I live in Texas where Butter Tarts as y'all call them are known as Po'Man Pies(tarts). And yes, I do live in an area where pecans practically grow wild out here so we do actually put fruit and or nuts in almost everything including the pies(tarts).
I would like to try the Nanaimo bar. I love coconut and chocolate but I would like to try making this. BTW, I finally got my cheesecake recipe the way I want it. So I will be posting it sometime next week when I come back.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Debra! What a delicious post, Debra! Of course, I know these famous Canadian desserts, and how fun that Canada Post has honored them with a series of stamps! I've never had sugar pie, and I'm not certain about Saskatoon Berry Pie. It has been over 40 years since I was in Saskatchewan, but I likely would have tried it out of curiosity. We Bluenosers have an equivalent in cranberry raisin pie which I bake even now. Butter tarts were a staple when I was growing up. Yum, yum ~ No raisins or nuts, but like you, I'll eat any variation. The first time I went to Nanaimo, the number one item on my To Do list was have a Nanaimo bar (which is why I likely had Saskatoon berry pie in Saskatchewan). The bar was delicious, but not any better than than those produced by the great aunt and grandmother bakers in my family. As for blueberry grunt ~ Oh my, could my Grandmother MacDonald make blueberry grunt! Of course, we kids were sent on blueberry hunts; but Grammie could also buy them at farmers' stand, or more likely send us to buy them. Why oh why must I be stuck in the middle of losing weight? Once I'm down to my target weight, I'm going to sparing allow myself such fabulous treats! Have a sweet day!

Nanaland said...

Visiting today from Where the Spruce Tree Grows. Love all these yummy dishes. I live in Alabama and Southern cooks are known for their sweets. I may have to give the Coconut Bars a try. They look delish. Come visit me at Nanaland where I share my life as a Southern Mom, Nana and Stitcher.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I'd choose a Blueberry Grunt for the name alone!

JACKIESUE said...

I remember when I had Canada Day for the oldies at the West Rest Haven...all the things you canaderians sent for them..I made nanaimo bars and they loved them..thing the thing I loved most was the post card from the Canadian Air Force ...the chosen frozen..

Barbara said...

I've never heard of any of them down here in Texas but they sound absolutely delish. My kind of desserts - sweet to the killing point! I love the stamp idea also. I miss stamps as I pay everything online now but I do remember getting special stamps for special occasions - weddings, holidays, new releases.

Marie Smith said...

We always made blueberry grunt when we were camping in August every year. Delicious!

TheCrankyCrow said...

I’m a visitor here from Laurie’s blog.... Thoroughly enjoyable post even though I am not Canadian... I have not tried any of these desserts and never even heard of them...but I am going in search of a Nanaimo bar recipient...those sound amazing!!! ~Robin~

LEfting said...

I live in BC fairly close (a ferry ride - Nanaimo is on Vancouver Island)to Nanaimo...and I make a lot of Nanaimo bars. It is the most delicious bar ever, and a staple at Christmas! I also make butter tarts...they are delicious, too! I must try a sugar pie, we can't get Saskatoon berries here so that one is out!

Bea said...

Such fun stamps! I haven't had the pleasure of sampling any of these delights. First on my list would be the Grunt, to be sure!

I've made something similar in shape & size to the butter tart: a lemon almond 'pie'. I forget what the crust consisted of at this point.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Can you check my latest wonder woman post to see if those comments were yours. That little slug of a troll is trying to get himself back in I think.

Martha said...

The butter tarts! Oh my... Definitely for me.

Lowcarb team member said...

Just come across from Laurie's blog.
These look great stamps and I especially like the one, and information, about Blueberry Grunt.

Enjoy your weekend.

All the best Jan

Frank said...

I'd try the blueberry grunt...and a few others.

Bill Lisleman said...

I'm fond of berries so the saskatoon berries, and Blueberry Grunt sound the best to me. Your post is making readers hungry.

Adam said...

4 calls out to me.

Old Lurker said...

Is this stamp series sponsored by Metformin? I suppose your communist health care system handles your teeth as well.

I will take some blueberry grunt, please.

Parnassus said...

Hello Debra, I like different fruits, so I would try the saskatoon pie. There are similar berries that grow over a wide range, called Juneberries, shadbush, Serviceberries, etc. so this could be approximated using wild berries.

I noticed that all these desserts were soft--don't you have cookies in Canada, the crisp kind? Those are always my favorites.
--Jim

G.B. Miller said...

If I wasn't a diabetic, I would go with the butter tart as that seems to be the lesser of the dessert evils that you got pictured.

Kay G. said...

What great stamps!
I have not had any of these but if I could, I would go for the Blueberry Grunt, of course!

Hey Debra...I saw this on a t-shirt:

I googled my symptoms. Turns out, I'm just a bitch!

You might have seen this already. I love it!

Sooo-this-is-me said...

My sincere thanks to African-American people for inventing number two (always with raisins) and for whoever invented number four, both were required eating at my house! ;)

Sugar pie, eww no, that's even too sweet for bees!

This N That said...

I never met a dessert I didn't like ..Yum to all of them..HAven't tried them but I would probably choose The Nanaimo Bar...

Barb said...

Growing up in Michigan, we called butter tarts sand tarts. Butter, eggs. Two kinds of suga . Pie crust. What's not to like. We were talking about these at Easter, may need to make something. Even diabetics are allowed the occasional sweet.

RO said...

Wow! How cool to have yummy desserts put on a book of stamps! I have a friend who's into stamps for her artwork, and would love these. I enjoy any type of dessert with berries so much! Hugs and hope your day is amazing! RO

Pam said...

Okay, its a given I have to move there, I would fit right in with those desserts! First I love sugar and second I love SUGAR! haha...and all that you guys mix with the sugar. I will really need to try those out, esp the grunt stuff....thanks.

NanaDiana said...

What a great post,Debra. Your saskatoon berries sound a lot like the elderberries I grew up with-almost identical, in fact.
LOVE the stamps. They are almost collector items I would think.
Have a wonderful, sweet Sunday- xo Diana

mshatch said...

I want a nanaimo bar!

Magaly Guerrero said...

I haven't had any of these. But knowing me (and my sweet tooth), I would try them all and finish them too! Yum.

Guillaume said...

I got Nanaimo bars last Christmas, thanks to a Canadian friend. I miss sugar pies, I cannot believe that you only had it once, it's like so common in Qu├ębec.

Ur-spo said...

what? no tidbits?

baili said...

what a tasty post dear Debra :)))

i have never found them around though if i would have to try i will try all time to time

i love dessert that has coconut taste ,my younger son doesn't though
hugs!

^.^ said...

Good looking deserts, friend D … U got my stamp of approval … smiles … Sadly, when it comes to food like that I want, want, want it very bad but cannot have it unless I wanna skip work and sit on da can for 3 days … I know this is a party pooping comment, but it is what it is … Anyway … Much love, cat.

JP said...

When can I emigrate?
JP

Magic Love Crow said...

I haven't seen these stamps! They are cool! I have never tried Blueberry Grunt or Saskatoon Pie! Would love to try those! My mom's butter tarts are my favs to eat out of this list! Big Hugs!