The Sugar Pie from Hauts-de-France is an iconic dessert that can be found in any Northern brasserie and bakery. The authentic recipes call for the use of real vergeoise (beet brown sugar), though regular brown sugar will work well too.
The Great Lille Braderie is just a few days away! This centuries-old street market is the largest one in Europe, and a time of festivities for locals and visitors. Over 2 days, the city center fills with thousands of vendors and millions of curious gawkers hoping to find antique gems and forgotten treasures. A true ode to history laden furniture, fixtures and objects – all so specific to the French lifestyle.
Sugar is a beloved ingredient in the North of France. In the 19th century, France’s first beet sugar refineries established themselves around Lille, importing sugar from French colonies and through the port of Dunkerque. The Vergeoise (the sugar extracted from beet) became a common good in households and supplied bakers with infinite inspiration for sugar baked goods.
Though it can come in many variations, this Sugar Pie from Hauts-de-France recipe is a thin brioche, topped with an egg-based cream and sugar, that all gets baked to golden perfection. The authentic recipes call for the use of real vergeoise (beet brown sugar), though regular brown sugar will work well too. This rich brioche-like pie can be enjoyed for breakfast, or as a dessert after lunch, according to tradition.
Sugar Pie from Hauts-de-FrancePrint This
For the brioche:
2 cups all-purpose flour
125g butter (at room temperature)
10g dry yeast
¼ cup white sugar
50g unsalted butter
5 cl milk
1 pinch of salt
¾ cup vergeoise (or regular brown sugar)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoon heavy cream
3 tablespoon butter (at room temperature)
In a small sauce pan, warm up the milk (just warm, not hot) and add in 1 tablespoon of sugar and the dry yeast. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, the rest of the sugar, the butter and the egg. Add in the milk mixture, and mix with your hands until you can shape the dough into a ball. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let rise for 1hr30min.
Spread the dough on a working surface and place it in a greased pie plate. Let rise again for 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 370°C.
Poke the dough several times with a fork. Sprinkle the vergeoise (or brown sugar) on top. Mix together the egg yolk and the cream, and pour the mixture on top. Cut the butter in tiny cubes and sprinkle them on top as well.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the pie is golden and the edges look caramelized.
This recipe is translated and adapted from the French food blog Herve Cuisine.