A lot of Canadian desserts can be categorized. You have your pies including Flapper Pie, Sugar Pie, Maple Syrup Pie, Bakeapple Pies, and Saskatoon Berry Pie. Then there are puddings, tarts, fried delicacies, cakes, and simple squares.
Despite the French influence, you need not worry about how difficult it is to create some Canadian desserts. In this guide, we will look at 25 simple and easy Canadian desserts.
1. Flapper Pie
A truly decadent Canadian dessert is Flapper Pie which starts with a graham cracker crust. Not many have heard of it as it is typical of the prairies though, frankly, it should be far more widespread.
The filling is a combination of egg yolks, vanilla extract, salt, cornstarch, white sugar, and milk which is cooked until it boils and thickens.
Once cooled, pour the filling into the crust and top with stiff peaks of meringue, sprinkle on some more graham cracker crumbs and bake until the meringue browns.
You should ensure you have some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream at hand to go with this delicious pie which is made from Saskatoon berries. Coat those berries with white sugar and cornstarch then place in a pie crust.
Cover with the top crust, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle on sugar then create a couple of vents and bake until the filling tries to escape and the crust is golden brown.
3. Sugar Pie
Another simple pie you really should try is Sugar Pie, also known as Brown Sugar Pie. Create a pie crust from shortening, salt, flour, and sugar formed into crumbs and then stirred with water, egg, and vinegar.
The filling is simply whisked together flour and brown sugar in a pan with butter, cinnamon, sugar, and evaporated milk until it begins to thicken and boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla extract then pour into the pie crust and bake.
Though the name may sound like an order, Bakeapple Pies are made from cloudberries (bakeapple being another name for cloudberry.)
You can find this traditional pie in the Labrador and Newfoundland regions in Canada and it typically uses in-season fruit. Create a pastry crust, or simply buy one from the store, and sprinkle over tapioca starch.
Stir your cloudberries with sugar and spoon them into the crust, place on the lid and make a few slashes before baking.
5. Butter Tarts
Another Canadian classic are Butter Tarts, with a rich buttery filling and a flaky pastry shell, create a batch to find out why. This decadent dessert begins with tart shells which you can make yourself or buy from the store.
In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar then beat in milk, eggs, and vanilla extract before dropping in raisins. Spoon the filling into the tart shells and then bake until golden brown.
For a true Quebecoise dessert, try the moist vanilla cake known as Pouding Chômeur which has its own maple sauce.
Start with the maple sauce which is maple syrup, light brown sugar, heavy cream, butter, vanilla extract, and salt heated together until the sugar has dissolved. Next, cream together the sugar and butter then add eggs and beat until fluffy.
Separately, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt and, in another bowl, mix together vanilla extract with buttermilk.
Gradually, combine the dry ingredients to the creamy mixture a third at a time with the buttermilk then transfer to a baking dish. Pour over some more maple syrup and bake until set.
An ice cream consisting of black licorice and orange flavors? Tiger Tail ice cream is somewhat iconic in Canada and you will need some orange and black gel coloring.
Just like you usually would for a batch of ice cream, whip up cream, then fold in some condensed milk but you will want to divide the mixture.
One half has orange flavoring and gel coloring while the other has star anise and black coloring which you then swirl together in a freezable container.
Not so much a dessert as a snack for pretty much any occasion including at meetings and social gatherings. Tidbits are compact donut holes, tasty small cakes which are fried and then covered with icing or powdered sugar. It really is that simple.
9. Beaver Tails
Beaver Tails are kinda like deep-fried and decorated dough. To start, create a soft dough from yeast which is allowed to stand in warm water and a pinch of sugar for a few minutes.
Stir in vanilla extract, eggs, milk, sugar, salt, and flour then knead until elastic and leave in a greased bowl to rise.
Once risen, rip off golf ball-sized pieces, roll into ovals and allow to rest before frying in a few inches of hot oil (the temperature should be around 385°F).
Stretch those ovals into tails and fry until a deep brown color then drain on paper towels. Toss them in sugar then shake off the excess and treat them like pancakes with your favorite toppings like jelly or Nutella.
10. Blueberry Grunt
From Nova Scotia comes Blueberry Grunt, essentially a Blueberry Cobbler. This is a great dessert to prepare outdoors as you can create a few servings on a campfire.
Once the berries are at a jam-like consistency, create the sour cream dumplings and place them on top in a covered pot. Simmer until thickened and serve with sour cream or vanilla ice cream.
11. Date Squares
For a comforting Canadian dessert, look no further than Date Squares. These are somewhat old fashioned but so delicious and gooey. The crust is from rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, butter, and salt.
The star of the show is the filling which is comprised of softened pitted dates and vanilla extract which is blitzed into a paste.
Create a sandwich with the crust and the dates as the filling then bake until golden brown. Leave to cool in the refrigerator and then cut up into squares.
12. Jos Louis Cake
If you have heard of and tried a Ding Dong Cake then a Jos Louis Cake is pretty much the same thing. In Canada, the Jos Louis cake is a snack from Vachon whereas in the US, the closest thing is a Hostess Ding Dong.
There are just three components, a chocolate cake, a marshmallow-esque filling which is all covered in melted chocolate.
13. Sweet Bannock
Bannock is another dough-like recipe but with a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar, you can create a Canadian dessert.
Combine flour with salt, baking powder, oil, and water to create a dough you can knead and you can even incorporate some cinnamon and brown sugar.
Knead into pancakes and fry then remove from the pan and add a sprinkling of brown sugar and cinnamon.
Another dumpling recipe is Grandpères, or Grands-peres au sirop d’erable to give them their full name. These are dessert dumplings which are cooked in maple syrup and they can be served cold or warm.
Create a dough from sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, margarine, and milk then scoop out into dumplings.
Bring the water and maple syrup to a boil and drop the dumplings in then reduce the heat until the syrup has thickened and the dumplings have cooked.
15. Figgy Duff
From Newfoundland is the traditional steamed pudding known as Figgy Duff, only it does not contain figs but raisins, given that’s how they were once known in the Canadian province.
If you create your own Christmas pudding then this will be quite similar, only with one type of dried fruit. The dough itself is tied in a wet heavy cotton bag for puddings or a pudding steamer and boiled/steamed for around 90 minutes.
16. Sucre À La Crème
Sucre à la Crème can typically be found around the holidays though you can create a batch throughout the year.
Only four ingredients go into the recipe so combine the sugars with heavy cream in a saucepan and heat through until the sugar dissolves then boil to a temperature of between 235 and 240°F.
Let the mixture cool down to just 110°F and add butter to beat together then pour into a pan to chill in the refrigerator.
17. Nanaimo Bars
Buttery, chocolatey, and supremely nutty, these Nanaimo Bars are a quintessential Canadian dessert.
To make a no-bake batch, create a base layer from melted butter, cocoa powder sugar, and a beaten egg then stir in chopped almonds, shredded coconut, and graham cracker crumbs.
Press that layer into a lined pan and leave to chill while you beat together heavy cream, vanilla pudding mix, powdered sugar, and softened butter for the second layer. That top layer is simply melted butter and chocolate to be spread across the top.
18. Nanaimo Balls
You can also serve Nanaimo Bars as balls for a fun twist on this classic Canadian dessert. There are still layers so create one mixture of graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut, pecans, cocoa powder, and melted butter.
In another bowl, mix together melted butter, powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla pudding mix to roll into balls.
Roll the balls in the graham cracker crumb mix and freeze them for around half an hour before covering in melted chocolate and any remaining crumbs.
19. Maple Cupcakes
Of course, you can make cupcakes that are flavored with maple syrup. These come with a whole cup of maple syrup and maple flavor so you know you are getting plenty of that sweet, sweet taste.
There is also maple flavor in the frosting, as well as butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and salt. Ideal for a party or simply a treat.
Maple syrup is such a versatile ingredient that you can use it as a glaze for Shortbread Cookies too. The cookies are simple enough, cream together sugar, butter, and maple extract then add in flour to create a dough.
Roll it out, cut out your cookies and bake until lightly golden brown. For the glaze, stir together maple syrup and powdered sugar until smooth then spread it over the cooled cookies.
At the Southern tip of Nova Scotia is the village of Pubnico and they even have their own cookies. With molasses, this is a rich and deeply-flavored cookie that should rise in the oven due to baking soda.
A lot of the spicy flavor comes from a teaspoon each of ground cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. Feel free to enjoy one or two of them by dipping them into a cup of milk.
Puffed Wheat Squares are a classic, somewhat healthier, dessert close to Rice Krispies Squares though you may prefer the texture with these.
Melt some butter in a pan then stir in vanilla extract, brown sugar, corn syrup and cocoa powder to create a coating for your Puffed Wheat. Transfer the mixture to a greased pan and allow to cool and set before cutting into squares.
23. Confetti Squares
More square-shaped delights come in the form of Confetti Squares which are basically marshmallow squares with peanut butter. Confetti Squares just sounds more fun and you can add Rice Krispies if you want a crispy texture.
The recipe is simple enough, melt together butter with peanut butter, and butterscotch chips until smooth then allow to cool and stir in the vanilla extract with mini marshmallows then Rice Krispies (if you are using them).
Pour the mixture into a pan, refrigerate until it becomes firm and cut into squares.
Another Canadian treat from Newfoundland are these snowballs. Melt together butter with sugar and milk then boil until it reaches a temperature of between 225 and 230°F.
Add the mixture to oats, shredded coconut, and cocoa powder then chill in the refrigerator until the mixture can be shaped into balls. Simply roll the balls in more shredded coconut and you can even freeze them to bring them out when you want.
25. Passion Flakies
Just like English scones, Passion Flakies can be covered with jam for a decadent treat. To create the flakes, use a couple of sheets of puff pastry with brushed egg wash and sprinkled sugar to bake until golden brown.
The next layer is a raspberry compote and you can finish it off with either vanilla frosting or vanilla whipped cream.
To assemble, cut out your pastries, add on a tablespoon of raspberry compote, then either vanilla frosting or whipped cream, and sandwich together with another layer of pastry.
Bonus Section: Maple Syrup
When you think of Canadian cuisine, a lot of it is centered on one of their most famous exports; maple syrup.
Whether it is used to cover a stack of pancakes, rolled in snow for candy or simply used as the basis of a pie, make sure you get a bottle of the good stuff.
It’s all about the maple syrup in this recipe for a classic dessert that can be made for breakfast or any time of the day. You can serve your pancakes with crispy bacon yet ensure that a stack of them is smothered in maple syrup.
Also known as Maple Taffy, this is ideal in winter if you have a fresh supply of maple syrup. Create a layer of fresh snow on a baking sheet and pour over boiling maple syrup that has reached a temperature of 235 to 240°F.
Quickly place a popsicle stick into the syrup and roll it around in the snow until it resembles a candy pop.
Similar to a Sugar Pie, a Maple Syrup Pie includes a filling from maple syrup, brown sugar, condensed milk, and eggs. This is a Canuck twist on the Sugar Pie though you still pour the ingredients into a pie crust and bake until the center of the pie jiggles.
Should you want to create some Canadian desserts, a lot of them simply require some pantry ingredients. However, several of them require ingredients you may only get from Canada including cloudberries and Saskatoon berries.
If there is one ingredient you should ensure you have in premium quality it is maple syrup as it proves so versatile and features heavily in Canadian desserts.
Frequently Asked Questions
While maple syrup is used in a lot of Canadian cuisine, the most popular dessert in Canada is Nanaimo Bars. The dessert comes from the Canadian city of Nanaimo which is in British Columbia.
Part of the dessert’s appeal may be due to the fact that the dessert is so simple to make and does not require any baking.
Aside from desserts such as Butter Tarts, Timbits, and Nanaimo Bars, Canadians have several popular dishes.
That includes Poutine, Bannock, and Tourtière which is a classic minced meat pie from Quebec. In Montreal, you can also find Smoked Meat Sandwiches and Bagels.