Baking / Chocolate / Christmas / pie / The Canadian Food Experience Project / traditions

The Canadian Food Experience Project: A Family Christmas Tradition in Alberta – Chocolate Pie (Challenge #7)

Chocolate Pie Picture by Lesli Christianson-Kellow[/caption]

Traditions and rituals have always been important to me. Especially after I had kids. I wanted to establish a template for what our family would look like 2 years from now, 5 years from now and 25 years from now. I wanted us to know that even when circumstances changed in our lives – interests, ages, living arrangements – that we would have our rituals to re-connect us and bring us together, even when we had been apart.

The occasions that bring families together usually involve food, wouldn’t you say? It is something we simultaneously look forward to and sometimes dread. Certainly, I’m not the only one that feels this way. Like, when I was a kid I would eat mini marshmallow peanut butter squares, mince meat tarts and shortbread continuously for all of December. It was what one did in December. Eat. And damn it, I was good at it! When I was a kid, eating home baked goods in December was a ritual, a rite of passage, really, and it all led up to New Year’s Day when all the sugary nonsense stopped, suddenly, shocking my system. It was the day on which I would swear never to eat another Christmas cookie, which of course never really happened that way. Likely I was eating something gingerbread man-shaped by mid-afternoon. But, still, I looked forward to the whole ritual of the season. It gave me a sense of security knowing what to expect.

Picture by Lesli Christianson-Kellow

Picture by Lesli Christianson-Kellow

So, when the holiday season arrives, I have made sure that I have established a few food rituals of the season. Double Ginger cookies, Chocolate pie, and Brown Sugar Shortbread bars usually appear in my freezer and on my kitchen table during the holiday season. (Along with the turkey, sausage and cranberry stuffing, shrimp salad, and bacon and croissants Christmas morning).

My kids love eating Christmas baking as much as I did…and I can’t blame them.

Chocolate Pie for Christmas


6 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened baking chocolate
1 ½ c. butter (3 sticks)
3 ¾ c. sugar
¾ c. milk
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs

1 pkg. of 2 deep dish frozen pie crusts or if you have time make your own pastry.

Whipped cream for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.)
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a medium pot at a low heat on the stove. When mixture is almost melted, remove from stove and let sit until mixture is finished melted. Transfer chocolate to large mixing bowl.
3. Add sugar, milk, and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture. Whisk until completely combined.
4. Pour half the chocolate mixture into each pie crust.
5. Place pies on the middle rack of the heated oven. Bake until just set, about 35-40 minutes. (pie puffs up a bit, then will deflate once cooled.) (Serves 8 )

Cool. Garnish with whipped cream.

The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us.


5 thoughts on “The Canadian Food Experience Project: A Family Christmas Tradition in Alberta – Chocolate Pie (Challenge #7)

  1. Pingback: The Canadian Food Experience Project: Round Up Seven

  2. I don’t know if we will wait until Christmas to try your pie recipe. It looks delish. I loved your post and I love family food traditions and have a wonderful story to share. My husband and I gathered 36 recipes from both of our families and made a cookbook of family favourites awhile back. We made copies of the little cookbook and sent them to family members as Christmas gifts. There are old family recipes like his great-great granny’s sterling sauce and newer recipes like my bro-in-law’s killer caesar salad. Family favourites also include his granny’s beet borscht and dumplings recipe from Winnipeg and my dad’s mac & cheese from New Brunswick. Our timing was just right. A year later, my dad and his gram were both gone. We cherish that little book.

    • Thank you so much for posting your story – what a wonderful idea for a family cookbook creation! Timing is everything, isn’t it? What a treasure to have gathered and shared your family’s recipes with everyone. A perfect keepsake.

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