La Fournée des Sucreries de l’Érable: The Proof Is in the Pie!
Like Getafix and his proverbial magic potion, Serge Boivin, owner of La Fournée des Sucreries de l’Érable, is bent on keeping his famous maple syrup pie recipe a secret. “After all these years, I’m still the only one baking the pies every Monday,” he tells us at his Jean-Talon Market kiosk. “Many people, many chefs have tried to copy it – even The New York Times tried to get the recipe! – but no one has ever succeeded in reproducing its taste and texture.”
Yet, its four ingredients are disarmingly simple: amber maple syrup – “definitely not the golden kind”, warns the friendly 60-year-old – eggs, brown sugar and butter. “The technique, the sequence and the quantities make all the difference,” he says in an enigmatic tone.
From Frelighsburg to Montréal
For the record, Serge Boivin is not the author of this recipe. Actually, he didn’t have any kitchen experience when he started! Former general manager of a company manufacturing specialized vehicles, the 35-year-old businessman decided to make a 180-degree turn at the end of the 90s, that’s when he bought a thriving artisanal factory of sweets located in the old general store of Frelighsburg, in the Eastern Townships, his new home.
“It was my first condition for buying: to get the maple syrup pie recipe,” he recalls. “I never managed to find out where it really comes from, but I suspect that its origin is not all that mysterious. Perhaps it was simply a recipe written on a syrup can.” Be that as it may, from the first bite you know that this maple candy flavoured pie is one of a kind. “It’s the best dessert I’ve had in my life,” he claims proudly.
Success was not long in coming. “I’d just left a stressful job and I thought I would just enjoy a quiet life, hanging out with my customers having coffee,” he says. “But then the off-season came. There was nothing going on in the village and I simply got bored. That’s when I had the idea to duplicate the concept elsewhere to keep busy all year around.”
While the famous pie can still be enjoyed at the shop in the heart of the Eastern Townships village, La Fournée des Sucreries de l’Érable has expanded over the past two decades, from Frelighsburg to Montréal, via Sutton and Dunham.
Early 2000s, the business moved into its brand-new Jean-Talon Market kiosk. Then, in an effort to increase production, a larger central kitchen employing around ten people was set up in Cowansville. That’s where all the products, about fifty in all – syrup pies, of course, but also pets-de-sœur, fruit pies, biscuits, scones, quiches and pâtés made according to traditional family recipes – are handmade from choice ingredients, including Québec maple syrup, apples and blueberries. “We will never compromise on quality,” says Serge Boivin, who favours baking the products on-site to ensure maximum freshness.
“What I like most,” adds the man who’s inspired by his grandmothers’ recipes, “is when customers tell me that our pies remind them of their grandmother’s because that’s exactly what I want to do: to bring grandma’s cooking back to life and make it shine.”
Quick Questions to Serge Boivin
What is unique about your kiosk?
It’s very small, but we’ve managed to arrange the space to allow baking on the spot. That’s why we’re located inside; it was non-negotiable! To me, it’s essential to duplicate the conditions that made us so popular.
What is your star product?
The maple syrup pie, of course! We produce tens of thousands of them every year, and not just during the sugaring-off season. It’s available every day!
Apart from me, only one of my sisters and my nephew know the maple syrup pie recipe. It truly is a secret!
Text by Jessica Dostie, Caribou magazine
Photos by Daphné Caron
Producers, merchants and artisans together make up the Montréal Public Markets’ extended family. For years, often for generations, they’ve been getting up early, experimenting, sometimes starting over, nurturing, harvesting and flourishing! Day after day, they stand proudly behind their stalls as if by their own dining-room table, inviting us to feast. They’re the heart and soul of the markets – their very essence – and the reason we keep coming back. The Family Portrait series aims to pay tribute to all the pillars of our public markets.
Ce projet a été financé par le ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation dans le cadre du Programme d’appui au développement de l’agriculture et de l’agroalimentaire en région.