How To Make The Best Tourtière, Ever

This impressive but inexpensive meat pie makes the perfect centrepiece at your holiday table.

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Best Tourtière - with a slice cut out

Photo, Roberto Caruso.

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!

Plan ahead

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.

Best Tourtière - with a slice cut out
Classic Tourtière Recipe

Use a variety of 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

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.

Season well

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.

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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

The ultimate combo—sweet and salty. Serve tourtière with a sweet tomato chutney or a relish to balance the flavour. Also, a crisp fresh green salad will round out the meal perfectly.

Originally published December 2012; Updated December 2019.

How to assemble a rectangular tourtière tart