Holiday desserts: go ahead, you deserve a treat today

Sweets to carry you through the holiday season


Annie Mickiyuk just graduated from the Professional Cooking program at Pigiursavik adult vocation centre in Inukjuak. Her recipe for Lemon Blackberry Tarts is sure to please your holiday guests. (PHOTO BY SYLVAIN PARADIS)

Annie Mickiyuk just graduated from the Professional Cooking program at Pigiursavik adult vocation centre in Inukjuak. Her recipe for Lemon Blackberry Tarts is sure to please your holiday guests. (PHOTO BY SYLVAIN PARADIS)

How ever you choose to spend your time these days, the holiday season usually involves some feasting with family and friends. And a good meal wouldn’t be complete without something sweet to finish it off.

Nunatsiaq News is serving up some recipes to sweeten your holiday season, tried-and-true treats made by some of the most talented bakers in Nunavik and Nunavut.

We hope you get a chance to work one (or all) of these into your holiday menus this year. Enjoy.


The Kativik School Board began offering a college diploma-level cooking program in 2014 at its adult education centre, Pigiursavik, located in Inukjuak.

Nine students from across Nunavik enrolled in the program this year, including Annie Mickiyuk from Inukjuak, who just graduated. One of Mickiyuk’s favourite creations is a lemon blackberry tart—a tangy, fruity classic. You can even use locally-harvested berries.

This recipe serves between eight and 12 portions.



¾ cup (150 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup (53 g) sugar
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsp (85 g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 tbsp (15 ml) cold water
1 egg yolk

Lemon Curd

¾ cup (175 g) sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
Grated zest of 2 lemons
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup (75 ml) water
1/3 cup (75 ml) lemon juice
½ cup (114 g) unsalted butter
3 cups (450 g) fresh or frozen blackberries

To prepare the crust:

In the food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt.

Add the butter and pulse for a few seconds at a time until the mixture forms coarse, pea-sized crumbs.

Add the water and the egg yolk and pulse until the ingredients are just blended. Add cold water if needed.

Remove the dough from the food processor and shape into a disc. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 16 x 6-inch (40 x 15 cm) rectangle.

Cut with a round dough cutter and transfer and press the crust into the cavities of a muffins pan.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes. With the rack in the lowest position, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool.

To prepare the lemon curd:

In a saucepan off the heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest.

Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, then add the water and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom and sides of the saucepan, until the mixture thickens.

Remove from the heat. Strain the curd through a fine sieve.

Add the butter and stir until thoroughly melted. Pour the mixture into each little precooked tart crust.

Cover with blackberries. Let cool down a few hours.


Mickiyuk’s classmate, Tivi Iyaituk, is more partial to chocolate. The student from Ivujivik prepared double chocolate éclairs—a slightly more challenging recipe, but well worth the effort.

This recipe makes about eight servings.


Choux Pastry

1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (125 ml) flour
2 eggs

Pastry Cream

1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 tbsp (30 ml) flour
1 cup (250 ml) milk, hot
4 oz (120 g) white chocolate, chopped
3 oz chocolate, melted

To prepare the pastry:

In a saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the flour at once and stir vigorously with wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the pan.

Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously after each addition until smooth.

Preheat the oven to (375 °F). Butter a baking sheet and line with parchment paper.

With a pastry bag filled with the choux dough, form 7.5-cm (3-inch) long éclairs on the baking sheet.

Bake in the middle of the oven until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Before they cool down, slice open the pastries horizontally so that the steam can escape, then return to the oven for a few minutes to dry slightly. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

To prepare the pastry cream:

In a saucepan off the heat, whisk together the sugar, vanilla and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the flour and whisk until smooth.

Add the hot milk and white chocolate. Stir over very low heat until it thickens.

Remove from the heat and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

With a pastry bag, fill the éclairs. With a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the éclairs. Keep refrigerated.


The Nanook Cooking Club kids are at it again.

In the weeks leading up their school’s annual Christmas concert, held Dec. 14, the 20 or so members of the Iqaluit school-based cooking club baked different cookies in preparation, said Kerry McCluskey, a parent who helps run the club.

When asked to share a recipe with Nunatsiaq News, the group opted for a chewy, lightly-spiced gingerbread cookies, which are fun to decorate.

McCluskey quadrupled the recipe below to make enough for the school concert.

“I picked this recipe for the kids because it’s easy to make large volumes of this cookie dough,” she said. “It also responds well to kids handling it so it’s good to work with.

“We have so many cookies to eat.”

This recipe makes 72 cookies.


6 cups of all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger (for a brighter flavour, puree fresh ginger instead)
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup shortening, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup molasses
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Start by sifting together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon, then set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg, and vanilla until smooth.

Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until they are completely absorbed. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat down to 1 1/2 inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least three hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies one inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When the cookies are done, they will look dry, but still be soft to the touch. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks.

When cool, the cookies can be frosted with the icing of your choice.


Compiled by Sarah Rogers

Thanks to Sylvain Paradis, Pigiursavik’s cooking instructor, and Kerry McCluskey for contributing these recipes.

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