LEWISTON – Tourtiere is a common holiday dish served by Franco-American families in Lewiston-Auburn – but whose meat pie is the best?

Trinity Catholic School set out to find out at its 2007 Holiday Festival, which featured its first tourtiere contestt. “Since many families in the community of Lewiston-Auburn have Franco-American relatives and have celebrated the holidays by eating tourtieres, we thought it would be a complementary activity for the holiday festival,” said festival volunteer Leslie Klenk.

The winner, Jacqueline Damant, declined an interview. Runner-up Lorraine Lamare also makes a yummy tourtiere – one that comes from her mother’s mother – as well as other tasty dishes.

“I never knew my grandmother. She died when my mother was just 5 years old. They were from Lambton, Quebec,” said Lamare, who makes tourtiere for the holidays and decided to make one for the festival “for the heck of it.” She said her four children graduated from Holy Cross and she wanted to lend her support to the parish. (All entry fees collected were part of festival proceeds raised for the benefit of Trinity Catholic School.)

Recently retired, Lamare was eager to spend her extra time cooking a variety of dishes. Besides tourtieres, she makes date squares, a family favorite. “My sister visited for Thanksgiving and I made date squares, a tradition that my family used to make. My sister loved them so I am baking more to send to her. I still have the recipe written in French,” Lamare said.

In her spare time, Lamare is an artist. “I have been doing art since I was in grammar school,” she said. She works in watercolors and oils and has been taking art classes with local teacher Mercedes Gastonguay for about 10 years.

As for the art of cooking, “the joy of seeing everyone enjoying it” is the best part, Lamare said.

All told, the school’s tourtiere contest attracted eight contestants, judged by a panel of three. Each pie was assigned a number so the identity of each contestant remained undisclosed. There was a taste test and each judge evaluated the pies based on overall consistency, as well as flavor and consistency of both the crust and the filling. The pie with the highest score won.

Tourtiere pie

Ingredients:

1½ pounds extra lean ground pork

1 medium onion, chopped

3 or 4 medium potatoes, boiled and well mashed

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

Pie crust for bottom and top

Method:

Combine all ingredients well and pour into double-crust pie. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Potato salad for fairly large group

Ingredients:

5 pounds red or white potatoes

1 dozen hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1 large cucumber, cut lengthwise then chopped

1 package radishes, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon ground mustard

Several tablespoons mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Paprika

Method:

Cut up unpeeled (if red) potatoes into small cubes and cook only until almost soft. Drain and cool. Combine all ingredients with mayonnaise and mustard, salt and pepper. Sprinkle paprika to garnish.

Dates squares

Ingredients:

2 cups Old Fashioned Quaker Oats

1½ cups flour

1½ cups dark brown sugar

1 cup melted shortening

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

For date mixture:

1 8-ounce package pitted dates

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons flour

Method:

In saucepan, cook chopped dates, sugar, water and flour until just boiling. Set aside. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients; then press half into 9-inch square pan. Spread cooked dates over well-pressed oat mixture. Layer remaining oat ingredients on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 or 35 minutes until golden brown.


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