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Canadian recipes from Anita Stewart

Food writer Anita Stewart shared some tips on modern Canadian ways to cook fish:

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She also shared a few recipes, like one for this early Acadian dish:

Poutines à Trou

Anita Landry and I met years ago while she was promoting New Brunswick's great seafood.  As an Acadian she and her family enjoy many special traditions.  Poutines à Trou is one such special dish.  She writes "This can be made year round. However, in our family, mother would make them especially at Christmas time with a kind of apple we grew and that seemed to be only ready at that time of year. This was the treat on Christmas morning and to lightly heat them in the oven of our wood stove made them taste even better.  The saltiness of the pork with every bite is scrumptious....Some people enjoy cranberries mixed with the apples, adding four or five berries to the filling of each poutine." 
If available, use Northern Spy apples or Gravenstein, the traditional apple of Atlantic Canada.


Dough:
5 cups (1.25 L) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) cream of tartar
1 tsp (5 mL) salt                  
½ lb (250 g) cold lard or shortening      
1 ¾ cups (425 mL) milk                 

Filling:
5 large apples, peeled, cored and diced              
1 cup (250 mL) raisins                       
¼ cup (60 mL) finely diced salt pork                       

Syrup:
1 ¼ cups (300 mL) granulated sugar               
1 cup (250 mL) warm water                   

For dough, in large bowl, combine flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt. Using pastry blender, or your fingers, cut or rub in shortening until mixture is the texture of coarse crumbs. With wooden spoon, then eventually using your hands, work in milk, about ½ cup (125 mL) at a time to form a stiff dough. Divide into two sections, wrap with plastic wrap and let rest while you prepare the fillings.
For filling, in bowl, stir together apples and raisins or cranberries. In skillet over medium heat, cook salt pork just until crisp; pour off fat.
Roll out one section of dough to ½ inch (1 cm) thick rectangle. Cut into 4 rough rectangles. Place about 2/3 cup (150 mL) apple mixture in centre of one section top with a few pieces pork. Wet edges of dough with a little milk. At one short end, overlap corners to form a cone. Repeat at other short end, to bring the poutine into a rough round with an opening in the top. Place in buttered 9 inch by 13 inch (3 L) casserole dish or other large casserole. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Bake in preheated 400 F (200 C) oven 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in small saucepan make syrup. Bring water and sugar to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Pour about 1/3 syrup into centers of poutines. Reduce heat to 350 F (180 C); bake a further 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and apples are tender. Pour remaining syrup into poutines.
Makes 8 servings.

Tuula's Pulla (Finnish Coffee Bread)

When I visited Malcolm Island, BC, Tuula Lewis was often baking many loaves of this delicious sweet bread for the local museum in Sointula.  At the museum's open house, before I was even allowed into the collection of Malcolm Island memorabilia, I had to have a thick slice of this fabulous cardamom bread, spread with butter and wild blackberry jam...a cup of tea was also de rigeur.

Like most good Scandinavian bakers she grinds her cardamom just before using it in a coffee grinder however, an old fashioned mortar and pestle will do. 

The yeast puff:
¼  cup (60 mL) warm water
1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
1 package / 1 tbsp (15 mL)  active dry yeast

The Dough:

1 cups (250 mL) granulated sugar
2 cups (500 mL) very hot water
½ cup (125 mL) warmed table cream (18%)
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground black cardamom
2 tsps (10 mL) salt
½ cup  (125 mL) melted butter
6 - 7 cups (1.5 - 1.75 L) all purpose flour  

In a small bowl, stir the water and 1 tsp (5 mL) sugar together till sugar is dissolved; sprinkle with yeast.  Let puff for 5 to 7 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, dissolve the sugar into the very hot water.  Whisk in the cream, the beaten eggs, cardamom and the salt.   Add the yeast mixture, stirring to combine.  Add the melted butter,  combining thoroughly.
Add the flour, a cupful at a time to ensuring that it is well blended after each addition.  As you add the flour beat well. 

When the dough is dense and stiff, turn out onto a well floured board and knead in any remaining flour.  Knead for 5 - 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  If the kitchen is warm, simply cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled.  Otherwise transfer it to a well oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ to 2 hours or till doubled. 
Punch down and divide into four.  Roll each piece of dough into a flat rectangle, about 10" (25 cm) long.  Make two lengthwise cuts to within 1 " (2.5 cm) of the end of the rectangle. Braid the dough, pinching the loose ends tightly.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Let rise a second time for about 50 to 60 minutes. 
Bake in a preheated 350'F oven for 25 - 30 minutes.   
Makes 4 braids.


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