Tourtière (meat pie) is a holiday classic with a lot of variations, but we can’t get enough of this traditional dish. Whether you plan to make our classic tourtière recipe or your own for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, here are a few tips that will ensure you make the ultimate pie!
Cook the filling early
Tourtière bakes best when a cold filling is added to the pastry shell. It’s your best protection against the dreaded soggy crust. Cook your meat filling a day in advance and refrigerate it overnight. (You can also make your pastry in advance, chill it, and roll out as needed.)
Visit the butcher
This pie is pleasantly inexpensive to make, so if you’re going to splurge on any part of it—make it the meat. Tourtière calls for ground meat—and not all ground meat is created equal. Visit your butcher and purchase higher quality, freshly ground products.
Use a variety of ground meats
Like meatballs and meatloaf, the best tourtière with the most flavour is made with a combination of meats. Ground pork is a must, but mix in other options such as ground beef, veal, or if you are feeling adventurous, some game meat.
Use lard instead of butter
Although bakers tend to prefer butter pastries, there is still a time and place for lard… and in a tourtière is it. Make your pastry with lard and you will end up with the flakiest, most savoury pastry ever.
Don’t be shy with your seasonings. Tourtière recipes call for a lot of spices and seasonings—so be sure to use them. The finished product should be a well-spiced, savoury meat pie. An under-seasoned tourtière will not deliver the same impact on the holiday table.
Check your consistency
Once you have finished cooking your filling, if there’s too much liquid (different meats and vegetables give off different amounts of water), dust it lightly with flour and bring it back to a boil to help thicken. (Some moisture is good, but if it’s soppy then your crust will suffer.)
Make your pastry glow
Take the time to create a design for the top of your tourtière—to make it a masterpiece! (Tip: Use cookie cutters to cut out decorative shapes for the top of your pastry.) Also, brush it with a slightly diluted egg wash to give it a golden hue when baked. Sprinkle with some good quality coarse salt for a delightfully crunchy bite.
Serve with something sweet
Originally published December 2012; Updated December 2020.