North·The Arctic Kitchen

This Cree-Métis man makes bannock apple pie — and we have his secret recipe

This week's Arctic Kitchen Recipe is bannock apple pie. Alcide Punko, whose parents and grandparents taught him about traditional cooking, says he loves 'the fact you can experiment with our traditional foods.'

'I like the fact you can experiment with our traditional foods,' says Alcide Punko

Alcide Punko has been baking for many years. He says this recipe took a long time to master. (Submitted by Alcide Punko)

Who doesn't love bannock?

It's great when camping, with a morning coffee... at a potluck. Simply put, it's simple and satisfying. 

Some people like to experiment with bannock. They make everything from bannock pizza pops to bannock breakfast sandwiches to bannock garlic loafs.

Others, like Alcide Punko, love making bannock pie.

"It's a craving that is flavourful and appetizing," he said from Fort McMurray, Alta.

"I like the fact you can experiment with our traditional foods."

Bannock apple pie is delicious, but you need to make sure the bannock to pie filling ratio is just right. (Submitted by Alcide Punko)

Punko is Cree-Métis, and his parents and grandparents taught him about traditional cooking.

He has spent a lot of time in the kitchen.

"Food has always traditionally been part of any Indigenous gathering, so my love of baking is the sharing aspect and the ability to make something for people to enjoy," he said. 

Despite all that experience, he says mastering bannock apple pie took some time.

"When I first made this pie several years ago ... I was trying to solve a problem, as I had a tree full of apples and I knew how to make bannock, but could not make a good pie crust," Punko said. 

Punko says a lot of flour is needed to firm up the dough and keep it from sticking. (Submitted by Alcide Punko)

Punko says he experimented with thick bannock crust and tried covering the whole pie with bannock, but it was too much. The ratio with the pie filling just wasn't right.

Eventually, he figured it out.

"Thinner bannock crust with the strips was just the right amount of bannock," Punko said.

And when making those strips, go heavy on the flour.

"Extra flour is needed to firm up [the] dough," he said. "Use a generous amount of flour on the table when rolling it out so the dough doesn't stick."

Punko's bannock apple pies baking in the oven. (Submitted by Alcide Punko)

He prefers the fresh apples in his yard for the filling, but says store-bought apple pie filling works well. 

After baking a beautiful pie, Punko shared his full recipe in CBC North's Facebook group The Arctic Kitchen.

"This One I Gotta Try!" said one member of the group.

Another person called it "a game changer!"

Punko was flattered to see all the nice comments and says he's glad he can pass on some of his traditional baking knowledge to others.

Check out his detailed recipe here in our Facebook group.