Many French Canadians bake tourtières—meat pies—for Christmas Eve, a Christmas feast, or New Year’s. “Best Cook in Town” Penny Despres gave us this recipe, her Memere Rousseau’s. Or, don’t wait for a holiday to make it! Try something different this year.



2 pounds ground pork
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves (or more to taste)
1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes
Penny's Piecrust
1 tablespoon milk


In a medium-size saucepan over medium-low heat, combine pork, onion, salt, and water. Simmer gently, stirring often, until all liquid evaporates, about 4 hours.

Heat oven to 400º.

Stir in spices. Add potatoes and beat well to combine thoroughly.

Line a pie tin with 1 crust. Spoon in pork/potato mixture. Add top crust and flute edges. Brush top with milk and prick with a fork. Bake 30 minutes.

Penny's Piecrust


4 cups flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons salt
1-3/4 cups shortening
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 cup ice water


In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut shortening in, until pieces are about the size of a pea. Add egg, vinegar, and ice water. Work into a cohesive dough ball.

Divide in half. Cut one dough mass in half. On a work surface dusted with flour, roll out 2 crusts. (If you’re making only one pie, freeze the second dough mass.)

Yield: 4 piecrusts

Cooking & Recipes


1 meat pie, acout 10 servings

Preparation Time: 

3 hours

Start to Finish Time: 

5 hours

Preparation Method

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