Sudbury·Up North

Sudbury bakers share holiday favourites

The festive food season is well underway, and bakers and chefs everywhere are in high gear.

Quick and easy 'rough-puff' pastry, gingerbread, 'Nanny's Buns' and johnny cake ... what will you try?

Sudbury bakers and chefs share their favourite holiday recipes. (Sweet Impressions Bakery)

The festive food season is well underway, and bakers and chefs everywhere are in high gear.

Four Sudbury chefs have shared their favourite recipes with CBC. You can click on the links below for the recipes.

'Rough-puff' by Al McMullin

Head pastry chef at Pinchman's Bakery Al McMullin is turning to some of his family favourite recipes. His British roots inspire many creations that involve a buttery, flakey pastry known as 'rough-puff.'

"A lot of family friends were English as well," he said. "At Christmas, everybody was passing mincemeat tarts around from one house to the next."

Sudbury chef Al McMullin says one of his favourite family recipes is a pastry called rough-puff. Here you can see how he folds the dough in thirds, before rolling it out. (Wendy Bird/CBC)

Holiday pastries

4 years ago
Sudbury pastry chef Al McMullin shares his recipe for a buttery, flakey pastry, known as rough-puff. 2:29

Here is the recipe Al uses for 'Rough-Puff', from Baking by Hand:

  • 11 oz all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp fine sea salt
  • 13 oz cold, unsalted butter
  • 6.5 oz cold sour cream

In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to mix.

Next, cube the butter and then add it to the flour bowl.

Using a mixer, pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the dough. It will be very crumbly and you're done when the butter is in uniform pieces all about the size of peas.

Next, make a hole in the centre of the dough and pour in all the sour cream. Using a fork, stir to combine the dough.

Flour a cutting board and add the dough. Pat it into a rough square. You will see chunks of butter and it will seem too dry, but do not add extra liquid.

Flour the rolling pin, and roll the dough out in front of you into a rectangle about 10 inches long.

Fold the bottom third of the dough over the middle of the dough. Fold the upper third of the dough on top of the middle too. Rotate the dough one-quarter turn, and repeat. Use additional flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.

Roll out, fold and turn the dough at least 3 times.

When done, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour or overnight. Dough may be frozen too.

Roll out with flour for desired puff pastry use.

Sausage Roll Filling (Divide recipe in 4 for smaller batch):

  • 7 kg coarse ground pork
  • 2 Tbsp ground toasted fennel seed
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 200 g dijon mustard
  • 4 eggs

Mix ingredients with metal spoon.

Roll out dough about ¼ inch thick. Measure rolled out dough 3 ½ inches deep by 21 inches long.

Egg wash the bottom 1 inch of the length of the strip.

Place a long log of the meat mixture on strip of dough above egg wash.

Wrap top half of dough over the meat mixture and seal.

Place sausage rolls on parchment paper covered baking sheets and place in fridge for 45 minutes.

Afterwards, cut rolls into 3 inch pieces. Score tops with knife.

Furter seal rolls with a fork. Egg wash with 1 egg, 1 yolk and a tablespoon of cream mixed together.

Bake in oven at 350F for about 20 minutes.

Recreating a special holiday side dish

4 years ago
Sudbury chef Stephanie Piche shares her family favourite side dish recipe, Nanny's Buns. 2:20

Gingerbread by Sue Scherzinger

Sudbury cafe owner, Sue Scherzinger carries a variety of gingerbread at her store Gourmet World.

"A lot of people think gingerbread is just one thing but there's actually so many kinds of gingerbread," she said.

"Normally we make our homemade ones at home which are a nice, soft cookie. We do make them in the store [and] we use the family recipe."

Sue Scherzinger, owner of Gourmet World in Sudbury, shows off her family's favourite gingerbread. They sell it at the store as gingerbread and tree ornaments. (Wendy Bird/CBC)

Here's a recipe Sue uses for German Gingerbread:
(courtesty of

1/2 cup/113 grams butter (softened)

1 cup/200 grams sugar

4 large eggs

3 cups/360 grams flour (all-purpose)

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon, ground

1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground

1/8 teaspoon allspice, ground

1/16 teaspoon nutmeg, ground

1/8 teaspoon coriander, ground

1/8 teaspoon cardamom, ground

1/8 teaspoon ginger, ground

1/8 teaspoon anise seed, ground

2 tablespoons/12 grams cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (double-acting)

1 cup/225 millilitres milk

1 3/4 cups/150 grams almonds (ground)

1/2 cup candied lemon peel (chopped)

1 tablespoon rum (or orange liqueur)

1/2 cup raisins (soaked in rum and chopped)

1/4 cup coconut (shredded)

32 oblaten (baking wafers, 3-inch size)

1/2 cup sugar (granulated)

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 to 2 tablespoons rum (or liqueur)

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 375 F.

Cream butter, 1 cup sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy.

Mix in flour, spices, cocoa powder, and baking powder, alternating with milk. Note that you can use prepared lebkuchen spices (1 tablespoon) if available rather than the listed spices.

Fold in nuts and lemon peel. Stir in rum. Stir in raisins and coconut.

If using, place the oblaten on parchment-lined baking sheets. Drop about 3 tablespoons cookie dough onto the wafer and smooth to the edges.

If you are not using the oblaten, draw 3-inch diameter circles on parchment paper using a cup or biscuit cutter as a template. Drop about 3 tablespoons cookie dough into the center of each circle.

In both cases, use the back of a spoon to fill out each circle, slightly mounding the dough toward the center.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn down oven to 350 F if cookies are browning too much.

Let cool for a few minutes, then remove to a cookie or cake rack.

Make the Glaze

While the cookies are baking, make the glaze. The glaze is to be applied while the cookies are still warm.

Place 1/2 cup sugar and water in a small saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and boil for a few minutes. Add vanilla and 1 to 2 tablespoons rum or liqueur. Sift confectioners' sugar over hot sugar syrup and stir.

Using a pastry brush, brush warm glaze over warm cookies. Let dry completely.

Dry glazed cookies for a day (so the cookie stays a bit crunchy) then store in an airtight container or freeze.

'Nanny's Buns' by Stephanie Piché

Holiday dinners usually come with several side dishes, and one of the most popular ones is the enticing dinner roll. Those delicious buns are a family favourite for Stephanie Piche. The recipe was given to her by her grandmother.

"I still haven't managed to get that exact consistency  that she did," she said.

"They were not overly crunchy on the outside. They were very soft and flakey on the inside. Even two days later, they still tasted fresh. She just had a knack for it."

Sudbury chef Stephanie Piché has fond memories of her Nanny making buns as a side dish. (Wendy Bird/CBC)

Here's Stephanie's recipe:

  • 2 pkg dry active yeast (or about 4 ½ tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 3 tsp talk
  • 7 cups all purpose flour

In a pot over high heat, scald the milk until bubbling on the edges and a light film appears on the surface. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine yeast, 2 tsp sugar and warm water and allow to bloom until aerated and fluffy.

Once milk is cooled to lukewarm, combine the scalded milk, yeast mixture, eggs and butter in a large mixing bowl.

Add remaining ¼ cup sugar, salt and 7 cups of flour. Combine and knead until a soft dough forms and pulls away from the bowl. Only add more flour as needed.

Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen tea towel and allow to rise in a draft-free area of the kitchen for a couple of hours or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and knead a couple more times. Divide the dough into 24 portions and temporarily set the dough balls in the cups of 24 standard muffin tins.

One by one, divide each ball into two and set side-by-side into each cup.

Cover again with the tea towel and allow to double in size once again.

Preheat oven to 350F.

If you want a golden crust, lightly brush the tops of the buns with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water).

Bake 25 to 30 minutes until lightly golden brown.

Johnnycake by Jessica Nadel

Jessica Nadel usually spends her time making fantastic treats like Mexican hot chocolate donuts, ginger molasses cookies and apple pie cupcakes.

But for Christmas morning, Nadel, who is the owner of Beard's Coffee Bar and Bakery, turns to Johnnycake.

"It just tastes like Christmas," she said. "I can see my half grapefruit cut that my grandpa had ready for me by the table and I just makes me think of our family over this big breakfast table at my grandparents house."

Sudbury baker Jessica Nadel says when she thinks of Christmas, she thinks of Johnnycake. (Wendy Bird/CBC)

Here's Jessica's recipe:

  • ⅓ cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp melted vegan butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease and 8X8 baking dish and set aside.

Add the vinegar to the milk and stir. Set aside for 2 minutes.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the milk, sugar and melted vegan butter.

Sift the dry ingredients and mix to incorporate. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean. Serve warm, topped with butter and maple syrup.

With files from Wendy Bird


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