Author Notes: My mother is Canadian, and every Christmas Eve we would eat tourtière (pork pie) for Rèveillon following the midnight service. It was all great fun and excitement when I was little, but now that my siblings and I are all grown up and have little ones of our own, we are typically too pooped to go to midnight anything, so we attend the afternoon service and have an early dinner before filling stockings and collapsing into bed.
Somewhere along the way, two things occurred: (1) I started making the tortiere; and (2) we turned “dinner” into an appetizer extravaganza (I credit my sister-in-law). In a flash of inspiration one year (coupled with fatigue—I had a 5-month-old), I decided to forego making the butter pastry for the tourtière. Instead, I made handheld tarts with puff pastry. Over the years, my version had already strayed from Mom’s in a few ways (within reason! My brother, in particular, gets queasy about notions of too much change at Christmas–the changes are subtle but significant, such as fennel in place of celery, bit of garlic, wine in place of water). The handheld puff pastry variant was a hit. (Side note: we still make traditional tourtière, just not on Christmas Eve! We have not abandoned the classic)
The only thing I (and everyone else—we are a very vocal family) didn’t like was the exposed top (tourtière typically has two-crusts, with pretty decorative dough cut-outs on top). Since we serve tourtière with chutney and relishes anyway, I made fresh apple “chutney” for another round of the tarts the following week for New Year’s Day. The family gave their thumbs up in between demolishing the tarts. These have become one of my favorite appetizers to make and share (I also make half-batches and serve for mid-winter dinners). Viva la cuisine Canadienne!
Makes: 24 tarts