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My Grandma’s classic Canadian prairie flapper pie recipe was the first recipe that came to mind for the latest installment of the Canadian Food Experience Project.
Flapper pie is a graham crumb crust pie filled with a decadent, creamy custard filling topped with a meringue. It’s so unique to the prairies that if you didn’t grow up here you most likely haven’t ever heard of it. Indeed, perhaps even not many Albertans have heard of flapper pie, this is a Manitoba recipe straight from the family archives, one that would have been passed around the farms!
I called my recipe Flapper Pie- The Lost Prairie Pie when I wrote it up and it since has become one of the most popular posts on my site.
Flapper pie seems to have been popular with my grandma’s generation……then just plainly died out. My mom never made it. I never had it at my friends houses. When I asked around, so few people have heard of it. Even fewer have ever baked it! What once was a staple in prairie kitchens is now a rarity to find, unless you are lucky enough to still find an older generation baking it in their cafe or restaurant, such as the one in Pine Lake.
Flapper Pie is a cherished family pie, however it isn’t one that I grew up eating. Now, isn’t that funny to go and pick a recipe that doesn’t have any real special meaning to me for this project? I promise, my choice will make sense in a moment.
The cherished part of the recipe comes from my retrieving the recipe from my Grandma’s archives and creating my Mom’s favorite pie from her childhood, making it all the more special because it was for someone else and not myself that I brought to life this old and treasured recipe.
My parents were just up this weekend, actually and I baked this pie up fresh last night for my Mom and Dad.
Those beautiful peaks of meringue and the cinnamon laced graham crumbs are so very divine on this pie.
No matter how many times I make this pie – and it’s only a few special times a year – the whole family enjoys remembering how much they love this recipe.
There is always inevitably a discussion about my grandma, my mom’s childhood and how much she loved this pie as a child growing up in Manitoba. My husband is always thrilled when I bake this up, it’s a new pie in his repertoire – him being an Easterner and never having this pie as a child, poor thing- and the smile on his face when he hears we are having it for dessert also is a reason why it’s one of my favorites.
The other reason that my flapper pie recipe is one of my most treasured Canadian recipes was the response from all of you readers. My recipe has evoked such emotion, memories and happiness from so many people that it makes my heart so very darn happy reading all the comments from you all!
A few of those treasured comments from you are:
-Thank you for posting this – I’m thrilled to share a little bit of the prairies with my NB family 🙂
-I also grew up on Flapper pie, it is still my favorite.My mother used the recipe that used to be on the back of the graham cracker box, when they took that off the recipe got lost, I am very happy to have found recipe that is just as good as I remember.
-My mom made it all the time and since she passed I haven’t seen it so went searching and found your site. Am going to make it myself as it was a favorite of mine 35 yrs ago Thanks Kevin
-So excited to see this recipe. Had my first and only slice of Flapper Pie when I was 10 and have been longing for a second ever since. Now, 35 years later, I have a recipe and a plan to bake this weekend. THANK YOU
How can comments like these not thrill me? I brought the recipe back to life for my Mom and it obviously was a childhood memory for so many of you, making this truly one of my most cherished recipes.
I am so glad to share this recipe again on my site and re-visit how much this prairie pie seems to mean to everyone! I have changed one thing, I bake the graham crust for 10 minutes before I fill it. While this is not in the original recipe, it helps with creating perfect slices of pie!
Happy Baking everyone!
I Think I Sill Have a Slice in My Fridge For Lunch Today Magpie
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My Cherished Canadian Recipe: Flapper Pie
- Prep Time
- 20 minutes
- Cook Time
- 10 minutes
- Total Time
- 30 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1 1/4 cups graham crackers
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- dash of cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups of milk
- 1/2 cup of white sugar
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
- Mix all the crust ingredients together, save about 2 tbsp to the side and press the rest into a 10 inch pie plate, in the bottom and up the sides.
- Bake at 350 for 10 minutes..
- Combine the filling ingredients together and cook on a medium heat until it boils and thickens, making sure to stir constantly!
- Set aside to cool while you make the meringue.Beat the meringue ingredients together until they form stiff peaks.
- Pour the filling into the crust and top with the meringue, making beautiful little spikes that will brown up all lovely on top! Sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on the top and slide into a 350 degree oven.
- Bake until the meringue browns like below, around 10 minutes but watch it carefully! All ovens are different! Cool in the fridge and eat the same day.
- This isn’t a pie that is going to last a few days, meringue topped pies get slimy between the layers. This is best made mere hours before serving.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!
To answer the first question above, the cornstarch has to cook and the custard loses its starchy taste before it is thick enough. It will suddenly thicken up when ready, cook another 5 minutes more as it bubbles to be sure it is fully cooked. To answer the second question above, let the pie cool to room temperature before refrigerating. We eat it room temperature the first day, then chilled the next. My nephew asked my mother to make this for his birthday over twenty-five years ago. We all shared one pie, he had his own entire pie. Now his sister, our daughter also want it every year. Grandma is gone now. She made it when I was a child in Edmonton, and I have been making it myself once married with a family. I add 2 tablespoons or more of some lemon juice to the crust instead of cinnamon, to offset the richness. If you put your refrigerated eggs in a bowl of warm water for ten minutes, they separate more easily and the meringue is fluffier.
Oh and about 8 or 9 double graham crackers makes the correct amount of crumbs, but you can buy packaged crumbs ready to go. I hand mix so I need prepared crumbs before starting.
My MIL would make this for hubs bday and when we moved away “shared” her recipe so I could carry on the tradition. I’ve always hated making it because the custard never set right for me. I think she did me dirty because her version doesn’t have any cornstarch. Will try yours next year!
Claire Mish says
My custard did not set up – not sure where I messed up. How thick should it be before you remove from heat?
My dad has requested this for his birthday this year, and I had never heard of it before! Looking forward to trying it out.
Silly question, but how long do you cool it on a rack before moving it to the fridge? Or does it go straight from oven to fridge?
My favorite pie. My mother made it,now so do I. My children always request it when they come to visit. As do my brothers. I’m from B.C. And the receipe came from the graham wafer box. I copied it years ago. The original didn’t have the cinnamon in the crust. That’s what makes the crust special.
LaVerne Jutila says
I just found your recipe and tyvm
My mom use to make this every year for my birthday was my only request each yr. I don’t think I have had it in like 20yrs
Going go make it now for my hubby for Valentine’s day dessert
Deb French says
My grandma would use cooked pie filling. We also had it topped with whipped cream. I’ll have to try the meringue. Good memories
Zoe G says
Thank you so much for this recipe! My father in law requested this for Thanksgiving dessert this year, and while I come from a long line of home bakers I had never heard of Flapper Pie before. I am so happy I found your recipe here, he absolutely loved it and it was the highlight of his Thanksgiving. He just celebrated his 80th birthday and this was one of his favorite desserts his mother made from his childhood. It’s a keeper, and made our holiday so special 🙂
My mom used to make this all the time yet didn’t leave any of us the recipe. Never knew that it was called Flapper Pie so I couldn’t search for it.
Used Google to search out the ingredients and there it was on Pinterest!
I use maple syrup instead of vanilla…truly a Canadian pie!