The following is an Acadian, or Franco-American, recipe and remembrance excerpted from the Maine Community Cookbook, Vol. 2. compiled and edited by Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz. The new cookbook builds “on the success of the award-winning Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook…” and “is a brand new collection of more than 200 family recipes, stories, and photos. The Maine Community Cookbook, Volume 2: 200 More Recipes Celebrating Home Cooking in the Pine Tree State, is filled with dishes and stories from home kitchens in all of Maine’s 16 counties, including recipes from well-known Mainers such as Senator Olympia Snowe, historian Heather Cox Richardson, 101-year-old lobsterwoman Virginia Oliver, Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson, best-selling author Abdi Nor Iftin, and summer resident and humorist John Hodgman. At the heart of the cookbook are recipes and stories from everyday Maine families. Breaking bread together gives us comfort and strength, in good times and bad. Whether we’re teaching our kids to cook family recipes over Zoom, or gathered together and sharing them at the table, our food traditions help define who we are, and bring us together as a community.”
Maine has a long and evolving history of a large population of people from French, Francophone or French Canadian descent. Many of the traditions of Maine Acadians are rooted in French culture and heritage. Below is one such recipe passed down through a family throughout the generations.
“I grew up in Fort Kent during the baby boomer years. My mom, Rita, was French Canadian. She married my dad, Reynold Dubois, after he returned from the Korean Conflict in 1954. Food was an important part of our lives. My parents had a big vegetable garden in the back yard that provided lots of fresh fruit and vegetables for our family in the summer, and was canned and frozen for the rest of the year. We ate lots of beef—provided by my grandparent’s dairy farm, Dubois Dairy—Joseph and Emily Dubois. And needless to say, we always had fresh milk. Holidays were marked by big family gatherings where great food (and lots of it!) was the focus. There were often so many aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family in attendance that we ate in shifts. Kids would eat first, then were sent away to play. Adults ate next. Then we’d all gather again for desserts. This pie was a traditional French Canadian dessert served when you had special company. It is thick and rich and satisfied everyone’s sweet tooth. My Québécois mom made sure company unfamiliar with Tart au Sucre had the opportunity to sample this special treat before they departed her home.”
Pastry for a double crust pie
3 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out two circles of pastry and use one to line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Put all the filling ingredients into a heavy pot and bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Pour into the crust-lined pie pan. Add a top crust with slits cut into it. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
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