Tourtiere Turnovers

From Chris Halpin

2011 Nov/Dec

Tourtière, a French Canadian holiday staple, is always on my must-have list. Traditionally it’s served as a large meat pie, but I like to make tortière in a bite-size version.


  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 kg. lean ground beef or pork or a mix of each
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 T. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 t. each ground cloves, ground sage and dried thyme
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 c. fine bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. cold water
  • 2 pkg. frozen pre-rolled puff pastry, thawed
  • flour for work area


Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. On a baking tray spread out the 1/4 c. flour and bake in the oven until the flour is a nice toasty colour, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for later. (Toasting the flour is key to getting a deep, rich flavour.)

Place a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the ground meat, onion, garlic and spices for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is well cooked. Remove from the heat. Drain off some of the fat if it looks like it’s pooling around the edges. Add the breadcrumbs and the reserved toasted flour to the meat mixture and blend well. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg and water together. On a floured work surface, unroll one of the pastry sheets and cut it into 12 squares, by cutting the short side into thirds and the long side into fourths.

With a pastry brush, lightly brush the squares with the egg wash. Place a tablespoon of the filling onto the centre of each square, then fold each square over on the diagonal to make a triangle. With a floured kitchen fork, seal the two edges and poke the centre once, to make vent holes. Repeat this with the remaining squares of pastry.

Arrange the triangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet so they’re not touching and freeze them, uncovered, for 24 hours before packaging them into Ziploc bags. To cook, pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Remove the triangles from the freezer, arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with a tomato chutney, Caribbean banana ketchup or your favourite condiments.