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The most decadent desserts from across Canada

Take a trip across the country without even leaving your kitchen. Indulge in some of the best sweets that our great nation has to offer, courtesy of food bloggers Lindsay and Dana who road-tripped from coast to coast to coast to discover what makes our sweet tooth smile. 
 

BC Nanaimo Bars

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Ingredients
 
Base
  • 11/4 cups (310 mL) rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
Filling
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) white sugar
  • 3/4 Tbsp (11 mL) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp (90 mL) homemade or store- bought prepared vanilla custard, such a Bird’s or Ambrosia Devon Custard
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp (215 mL) icing sugar, sifted
Topping
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate (not chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) corn syrup
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Spray the bottom of an 8- × 8-inch (20 × 20 cm) pan with cooking spray and line it with a piece of parchment that hangs over the edges. Spray the parchment layer and lay another piece the opposite way, also leaving some overhang. Spray again. This will make it easier to remove the Nanaimo bars from the pan.
  2. For the base, combine the rice cereal, toasted coco- nut, nuts, and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar and cocoa dissolve, about 2 to 3 min- utes. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla together. Slowly pour the cocoa mixture into the egg mixture, whisking to combine, and return to the sauce- pan. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil, about 3 to 4 minutes, then remove from the heat immediately.
  4. Pour the cocoa mixture into the bowl containing the rice cereal mixture, and stir until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and let it chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
  5. For the filling, whisk the water and sugar in a medium pot until just combined, then cook over high heat for 6 to 7 minutes (not stirring), until it turns a deep amber colour (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the vanilla—the mixture will bubble and spit, so stand back! Put back on low heat and stir to dissolve any caramel lumps.
  6. Add in one-third of the butter and stir until melted.
  7. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or using a hand mixer, transfer the caramel to a bowl and whisk on medium speed until it thickens slightly and begins to cool, about 6 to 8 minutes. While still mixing, add in the remaining butter, a little bit at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  8. Add the custard and mix for 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed until fully combined, thoroughly scraping down the bowl as you go. Add the icing sugar and reduce the speed to low, mixing until the icing sugar is combined. Switch to high speed and beat 2 to 3 minutes more. Spread the filling evenly over the prepared base and return to the refrigerator for 1 hour to set.
  9. For the topping, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan, combine the whipping cream and corn syrup and heat until just simmering. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Stir slowly until no streaks of cream remain and the mixture has become thick and shiny.
  10. Working quickly, pour the warm chocolate on top of the chilled filling. Quickly swirl the pan and spread to distribute the chocolate and create an even coating. Once the chocolate has cooled for a few minutes, you can sprinkle the top with some flaky sea salt, if desired. Place the bars in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until set.
  11. To remove from the pan, grab the overhanging parch ment and lift until the bars come out of the pan—they should be quite firm and sturdy at this point. Fold down the parchment and cut into 16 squares while still cold. Leftovers should be kept in the refrigerator

Manitoba Arctic Apple Fritters

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Ingredients
 
Dough
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water
  • 2 Tbsp (25 g) white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp (9 g) active dry yeast
  • 3 cups (450 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 Tbsp (12 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (1 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp (43 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Apple filling
  • 3 Tbsp (43 g) unsalted butter
  • 3 tart apples (530 g whole) such as Granny Smith, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
  • 11/2 tsp (3 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Glaze
  • 11/2 cups (173 g) icing sugar
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp (45 to 60 mL) half-and-half
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 to 5 cups (1 to 1.25 L) canola oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. For the dough, mix the warm water and sugar in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). Sprinkle in the yeast, stir gently, and let sit 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cin- namon, and salt. Once the yeast is foamy, stir in the buttermilk, butter, and egg. Mix in the flour, 1 cup (150 g) at a time, with a wooden spoon or dough hook if using a stand mixer. Mix thoroughly, adding extra flour a bit at a time if the dough is too sticky. Knead (by hand or with the mixer) until you have a soft, smooth, and gently elastic dough. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  3. While the dough is rising, prepare the apple filling. Melt the 3 Tbsp (43 g) of butter in a large frying pan over medium-low heat, then add the apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Stir frequently for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the apples have softened. Remove from the heat and let cool
  4. Once the dough has risen, press it down, then turn it out onto a floured surface. Sprinkling with flour to pre- vent it from sticking, roll out the dough into a 9- ×13-inch (23 × 33 cm)  rectangle. With the longer edges of the rectangle at the top and bottom, spread two- thirds of the apple filling on one side of the rectangle. Fold the other half of the dough over it and seal the edges. Turn the dough so the longer sides are on the top and bottom again. Spread the remaining one-third of the apple mixture on one side, fold the dough over, and seal once again. Now you have a layered square of dough filled with chunks of apple.Sprinkle a generous amount of flour over a baking sheet and set aside. Using a knife or bench cutter, cut the dough so you have about 48 small squares. Gather four squares at a time and press them together t form one fritter. Don’t worry if they look a bit rough or the apples have to be pressed back in—you want a cra- ter-like surface for these. Once all the fritters are formed, place them on the prepared baking sheet, cover very loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise.
  5. While the fritters are rising, fill a large pot with about 4 inches (10 cm) of oil and heat to 360°F (182°C). In a bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, half-and-half, vanilla, and cinnamon for the glaze.
  6. Lay out a baking sheet and place a cooling rack on top of it. When the oil is hot, gently drop the fritters in one or two at a time, depending on the size of the pot (they shouldn’t crowd each other). Fry until golden brown on one side, then flip over and fry until golden brown on the other, 3 to 4 minutes in total. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on the cooling racks.
  7. Once the fritters have cooled enough to handle, dip one side into the glaze, shake off the excess, and place it back on the rack, glazed side up. The glaze shouldn’t coat the fritters too thickly; once you start dipping the warm doughnuts into it, you’ll know if you need to add more cream to thin it out. Repeat until all the fritters are fried and glazed.
  8. These are best consumed the day they’re made!


New Brunswick Chocolate-Dipped East Coast Oatcakes

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Ingredients
  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (107 g) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 11/2 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
  • 11/2 cups (160 g) old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 tsp (1.5 g) salt
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) water, if needed
  • 1 cup (130 g) coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • Fleur de sel or flaky sea salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a large bowl of a stand mixer (or using beaters or a wooden spoon), cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, oats, and salt together, then add to the butter mixture in three increments, beating as you add. If you’ve added all the oat mixture and the dough is still quite dry, add the water, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) at a time, until the dough comes together.
  3. Between two large sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to about a 1/4-inch-thick (6 mm) slab. Pull the top layer of paper off and cut the dough into circles about 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter with a cookie cutter or the top of a glass. Transfer the oatcakes to an ungreased baking sheet—you should end up with about a dozen.
  4. Bake the oatcakes for 15 to 20 minutes in the pre- heated oven, or until they begin browning very slightly around the edges. Remove from the oven, let cool for 2 to 3 minutes on the baking tray, then transfer to cooling racks.
  5. To make these a little more decadent, melt the chopped dark chocolate over low heat in a saucepan or over medium heat in a double boiler. Once melted, remove from the heat and dip half of each oatcake in the chocolate, then lay on a cooling rack or piece of parchment to set. For the ultimate experience, sprinkle a little fleur de sel or flaky sea salt over the melted chocolate before it hardens. Whether sweet or savoury, these are always great with a dram of whisky.
 

Quebec Tarte Au Sucre (Sugar Pie)

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Ingredients
 
Pastry
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp (155 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (85 g) icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 5 Tbsp (30 g) pecan powder, or 1/4 cup (30 g)
  • Whole pecans ground in a food processor
  • 11/2 cups + 3 Tbsp (250 g) all-purpose flour (see note on page 6)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Filling
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) maple syrup
  • 11/4 cups (266 g) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp (198 g) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp (200 mL) whipping cream
  • 1 tsp (3 g) salt
Topping
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) maple syrup
  • 1 cup (about 125 g) whole pecans
Instructions
  1. To make the pastry, cream the butter and icing sugar for 2 to 3 minutes, until perfectly smooth. Add the egg and mix well, then add the pecan powder. In a sepa- rate bowl, combine the flour and salt, then add to the butter mixture in three additions, each time mixing until barely combined. Shape into a disc, wrap in plas- tic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to slightly less than 1/4-inch (6 mm) thickness, and transfer to a 9-inch (23 cm) pie dish. Blind bake (page 6) for about 20 minutes, until golden. Let cool.
  3. For the filling, first whisk all the yolks and whole eggs together in a medium bowl. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the maple syrup with the brown sugar, butter, cream, and salt. When boiling, ladle some of the sugar mixture into the eggs and whisk quickly to temper, then transfer the egg mixture back into the big pot, whisking constantly until thick, about 5 min- utes. Strain through a sieve into a container and let cool (uncovered) in the refrigerator.
  4. For the topping, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat the maple syrup in a pot over low to medium heat, then add the pecans. Stirring constantly, let them cook until the sugar has caramelized and the nuts look sandy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and let cool.
  5. When everything has cooled, pour the sugar custard into the pie crust and let set in the refrigerator for an hour. Garnish the top with the maple pecans and enjoy in small slices—it’s lush!

Excerpted from Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Roadtrip by Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller. Copyright © 2017 Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

 
 
 

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