Recipe from The Boreal Gourmet by Michele Genest

Makes one 9-inch pie

Pastry
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup cold shortening or lard
¼ cup cold butter
3 to 4 tbsp cold water

Filling
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup whipping (35%) cream
½ cup birch syrup
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt

Make the pastry: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (If using a food processor, pulse for a few seconds at a time, checking often to make sure not to over-mix.) Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture a tablespoon at time, mixing or pulsing a few seconds, and stop adding water when the dough holds together.  Scrape the dough out onto a length of waxed paper. Gather the dough together into a ball, and knead a couple of times. Cut away a third of the dough and reserve for another use. Roll out the remaining dough between two pieces of waxed paper to a diameter of 10 to 11 inches. Transfer the dough to a shallow 9-inch-diameter pie plate. Press gently onto the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim off excess pastry, crimp the edges, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Make the filling: In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, cream and birch syrup and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often, and making sure the mixture doesn’t boil over. Transfer to a large bowl and cool to room temperature. When cooled, whisk in the eggs, lemon juice and salt.

Line the piecrust with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Top with a layer of dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake the crust in a preheated 375º F oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the beans and parchment paper, and let the crust cool to room temperature. (Do not turn off the oven.) Pour the filling into the crust and place the pie on a baking sheet. Bake until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbly and puffy, about 30 minutes.  (The filling will be quite liquid when it comes out of the oven and will set as it cools.) Cool on a rack until the filling is set, about 40 minutes. Serve at room temperature or chilled, with crème fraîche or ice cream.

This recipe was adapted from The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking, by Michele Genest. Harbour Publishing, 2010. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.

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