Terri's Tourtiers (French-Canadian Santa Pies)


This recipe is a Christmas tradition first given to me by my French-Canadian sister-in-law in the form of a lovely homemade pie. Her family has made dozens of these to share every year with friends and family during the holiday season for generations. In fact, earlier generations stored their newly made pies in the snow banks outside their Quebec homes for keeping through the winter. The tradition of gathering the family to share the assembly of dozens of pies still thrives to this day. Her little grandson could not pronounce the name so he renamed them Santa pies, and the tradition continues. Serve with cornichons or gherkins and grainy Dijon mustard.

Prep Time:
1 hrs
Cook Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Additional Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 20 mins
30 servings


  • 5 cups water

  • 5 pounds lean ground pork

  • 3 onions, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 2 ½ cups ground dry bread crumbs, or more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 5 pastries for double-crust pies


  1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan; crumble pork into the boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer until pork is no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain water into a large bowl and transfer pork to a separate bowl; refrigerate pork. Refrigerate broth until fat separates from water, at least 1 hour.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  3. Place pork in a large skillet; add onions and salt. Cook and stir pork mixture over medium heat until onion is soft and translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.

  4. Skim and discard the fat from the broth. Pour the remaining broth over the pork-onion mixture; stir in bread crumbs and allspice until well mixed. Add more bread crumbs if mixture is runny. Remove skillet from heat.

  5. Press 5 pie crusts into five 9-inch pie dishes. Divide ground pork mixture among the 5 prepared pie crusts. Place 1 pie crust over each pie, crimping edges together to seal. Cut slits into the top crust of each pie for ventilation.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until pies are golden brown, about 1 hour.

Cook's Notes:

Ask your butcher to grind a nice, lean pork roast to make assembly even easier.

The meat mixture should not be runny and should be rather thick so it holds up firmly when you slice the pie into wedges.

Wrap the extra pies in aluminum foil and freeze for gifts or future use. To cook the frozen pies, preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Unwrap bake frozen pie until cooked through, about 1 hour.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

499 Calories
31g Fat
35g Carbs
18g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 30
Calories 499
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Sodium 883mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 40mg 3%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 264mg 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.