Chartwell residents show off their cooking skills

There’s no alternative to fresh, home-baked dessert. Whether seniors are enjoying their grandmother’s chocolate pie recipe or recreating their own sweet concoction, handcrafted desserts can’t be beat. With this knowledge on-hand, the Chartwell retirement residences as well as seniors of the region recently invited residents to participate in a culinary contest to show off their best recipes.

“Jamais Trop Sucré” contest showcases dessert recipes
Seniors living across the Gatineau region were called to contribute their favorite homemade desserts to the “Jamais Trop Sucré,” or “Never Too Sweet,” contest. All seniors ages 65 and over, including those living in the following Chartwell residences, were invited to participate in the contest: Cité-Jardin, Domaine des Trembles, Monastère d’Aylmer and Notre-Dame de Hull. The recipes were then judged by a panel of cooking experts. Among the panelists was renowned TV chef, Soeur Angèle, who hosted the event. After examining all recipes, the group of judges narrowed the pool down to four semi-finalists, who were invited to cook their concoctions for the chefs.

The top four dishes included Jacqueline Thivierge’s beet and carrot cake, Mirelle Michaud’s pear tart, Maurice Marcotte’s blueberry pie and soft maple sugar, and Léonne Perrier’s carrot cake with walnuts. In addition to winning the best dessert title, participants had the chance to win more than $4,000 in prizes.

Soeur Angèle explained that the contest was a great way for seniors to not only show off their cooking skills, but take a glimpse into the past as well.

“I think it’s wonderful that seniors are able to relive their childhood memories to their children and grandchildren, continuing the family culinary traditions,” she said. “The memory of the taste is phenomenal and allows us to relive precious moments.”

Mirelle Michaud wins judges over with her pear tart
While all participants were praised for their delectable treats, Mirelle Michaud took home the top prize with her homemade pear tart recipe. The dish, “Ma Nouvelle Tarte Aux Poires,” or “My New Pear Tart,” has been in her family for more than 30 years. Michaud was selected by the Chartwell Monastère d’Aylmer as a finalist, then created her dish for the panel of judges at the 17th annual Rendez-vous des saveurs, which was held in mid-October at the Casino Lac-Leamy.

Michaud shares her recipe
Award-winning Michaud explained that this recipe is special not only because of its sweet taste, but also because pears are offered all year-round, making it a perennial treat. Seniors looking to replicate Michaud’s first-place feast should follow her recipe below.

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 5 large Bosc pears
  • One 10-inch pie crust, or enough dough to craft one
  • 3 tbsp. cold butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup flour

Directions: First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the flattened dough in a tin, and raise the edges slightly to ensure ingredients won’t fall out. Next, wash and peel the pears, removing the core in the process. Cut each pear into 5 or 6 pieces. Layer the pears on the bottom of the tin. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. flour and half of the whipping cream into the dish, then combine the brown sugar and remaining flour in a small bowl. Stir the butter into the mixture. Add the ingredients to the layer of pears, then pour the remainder of the whipping cream on top.

Cover the edges of the tin with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees, then bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes. Once the dessert has cooked long enough, set it out to cool. Once ready, the tart can feed up to eight people. Consider garnishing the dish with a fresh scoop of vanilla ice cream for additional fun.