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?