This week’s episode of Recipe to Riches featured a show first that also happens to be a show last: a Toronto contestant. It also featured a little sparring between marketing judge Tony Chapman on the one side and Laura Calder and product developer Dana McCauley on the other over the appropriate brow-level for the products: the latter two wanted to see food they might serve at a dinner party, leading Chapman to declare, “Neither one of you is the mass market!” As with any reality show, it’s always more fun when things get heated between the judges. After the jump, our recap of the savoury pies episode and the results from our tasting panel.
Burnaby’s Melaney Gleeson-Lyall took the win this week for her hazelnut bannock pie, a part of our heritage that has zeitgeist written all over it at the moment (Oliver and Bonacinirecently opened a restaurant named after the Scottish-cum–First Nations flatbread). But the climb to the top for this mild-mannered charity administrator wasn’t easy. First she had to vanquish Toronto’s Tikka Smiley, a bubbly kiddie entertainer (she arrived at the tryouts wearing balloons) who brought her recipe for a vegan pot pie. Sadly, she was eliminated in the batch-up challenge after she replaced her biscuit crust with a dry-as-a-bone whole wheat version “for the esthetic value.” Gleeson-Lyall’s other opponent, Brampton’s Wayne Reid, seemed like he was invented for TV. The good-natured reggae singer bounced around the screen dropping phrases like “I a rub-a-dub it in” to explain the cooking process for his moon-shaped salt fish and ackee pie. After the marketing challenge (whose relevance to the eventual outcome is starting to feel questionable), the judges found themselves faced with a choice between two visions of Canadiana: Aboriginal and multi-culti. Galen Weston Jr. noted in his trademark adorably stiff way that the native heritage of the bannock pie had “an enormous amount of romantic appeal,” but Chapman was clearly in love with the grab-and-go potential of Reid’s pie for the 99 per cent who eat most of their meals on the go. In the end, the win went to the dinner party set (who, in McCauley’s words, “might not be confident enough to make a First Nations recipe” from scratch).
This week’s winning recipe took a lot more effort to put together than any of the previous winners on the show, necessitating an off-site, out-of-office tasting. First, the frozen bannock-less pie filling spends half an hour in the oven during which time you combine a pouch of dry ingredients with water to create the bannock dough. Then you place a flattened ball of dough on top of the half-cooked stew-like filling and put it back in the oven for another half hour. The results of all that labour and time were mixed. Most of the panel found the bannock component much more interesting than the filling. One taster compared it favourably to a “slightly sweet scone,” while another pointed out that it was the only component to elevate the dish beyond so many frozen veggie pot pies (sadly, it doesn’t get cooked in a pan like real bannock). Everyone agreed that the root vegetables and squash filling, while better than the usual pot pie goop, needed a lot more salt. The verdict? Worth a try if the novelty appeals to you. See how we put the dish together in our box-to-plate gallery »
34 thoughts on “Recipe to Riches reviewed: Episode 4, Bannock Hazelnut Pie”
I can’t find the nutritional info on this … can you?
Per 1/4 package:
25 g of fat
580 mg of sodium
Its too bad, I was more likely to buy the Jamaician Patty vs this…some of the runner up stuff sounds so good in these episodes that they should figure out a way to get some of them on the store shelves. Come on G2, figure it out!
based on the nutritional info, i’ll definitely pass!
The good news: It was great to see 2 of the 3 dishes be vegetarian. Good on ya! Also, really impressed that a vegan dish made it in the running. Congrats to the winner – I look forward to trying your dish!
SO disappointed that I won’t get to try the ackee and salt fish dumplings! Wayne Reid, where can we try those? Now, I’m going to have to go get some ackee and salt fish this weekend. Patty King in Kensington Market has Ackee and Salt Fish Patties! Best place I’ve found in Toronto for ackee and salt fish is Ritz Carribean at Yonge and College. They even have boiled dumplings and boiled bananas! Yums.
Oh, and I agree – let the home viewers vote on a few recipes they would like to make it into stores.
I saw the 4th episode last night and bought the bannock hazelnut pie today. Being Canadian-Jamaican, I was hoping that Wayne Reid would win with his ackee and salt fish pie (yum!), but I still had a big interest in this First Nation’s dish, too. I wasn’t expecting to mix the pie topping myself, but it was easy. The only issue I had is that the instructions state that only 45ml or three tablespoons of water is all that is needed to mix the sweet potato bannock topping, but I found that I had to double that amount otherwise the topping is just a crumbly mess. As for the nutritional information, the high caloric count and fat count is surely due to the vast amounts of crushed hazelnuts. Nuts are high in good fats and they can also be high in calories. Other than that, there is not that much fat in this dish other than the dairy in the actual pie. I am very conscious about what I eat and I exercise 5 times a week, so my body will use the nutrients in this dish. If you are active, then this type of meal with a lot of vegetables and nuts will do your body good. It tastes really good and is not salty. This will do well in the winter as this is definitely a comfort dish. I will purchase this meal again, for sure.
I was disappointed with the results. Galen Weston seemed to go with the political choice (support the aboriginals), but I would have purchased the ackee and saltfish dumplings. I dont want no bannock.
Like most people, we want a snack that we can either sit down and eat, or bring with us to eat on the go. And the ackee and saltfish pies met both those market segments. When Wayne Reid decides to sell these, I’ll buy em.
Last 2 Recipe to Riches products I bought were disappointing. Peach Bliss Cheesecake, and Chicken Grenades. I think these products may have been good fresh, but not made to be frozen.
i am sooo proud of my aunt <3 you
I went to MAXI to purchase the Recipe to Riches newest addition. Every week I like to go and buy the product and try it out. Unfortunately, it was nowhere to be found. Last week I did find the Rock n’ Roll Peach cake (which we loved and will purchase again)but could not find the Bannock Hazelnut Pie. Is it because I live in a VERY french area which might not watch the show? I was disappointed NOT to find it! Maxi is on Sherbrooke street in Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec
i watched the episode lastnight. I am an a pround aboriginal. unfortunaltly we have only two grocery stores whick i doubt will carry this product. so unless Northern store decides to sell the product i will have to wait for the 6 hr drive to the closest city to try it.
I’ve watched all episodes thus far. The Bannock pie is the only dish I’ve purchased. I too was surprised that I had to mix the topping. It was fussy. I think it would have been better as a crumb topping vs. a pastry-style topping after fighting with it for a few minutes. The end result was tasty, but I wouldn’t buy it again. Too fussy and took an hour in the oven. Not exactly a quick-home-from-work-feed-the-trooops kind of dish.
Political??……Original! and I’m sure taste was a factor in the decision making process. Savoury Bannock Pie is on the menu for my family tomorrow evening; sounds delicious and healthy, I’m looking forward to it.
I would also like to try and make this dish myself using the recipe on Foodnetwork.ca. All recipes from the show can be found there, I’ll attempt a few including the “Grab ‘n Yum” Jamaican Pies.
I really liked the Bannock pie a lot and actually plan on buying a couple more today to keep in the freezer. I’m not lazy, so didn’t mind the 4 minutes it took to prepare the Bannock, and I don’t mind sticking something in the oven and leaving it for an hour either. I am VERY impressed by this product. It’s unique for a frozen dish, and I liked it a LOT. It tastes like a nice stuffing, with a little sweetness. The filling stays firm and is not too golly or startchy, and the Bannock part was very nice in texture and taste. It’s actually my favorite product so far by a long shot (although I have yet to try the cheesecake, which I hear is really good… the chicken grenades were gross, and the lemon tart only mediocre) . I can see that the Bannock pie isn’t for everyone’s pallet maybe, but if you enjoy a good nutty and slightly sweet stuffing, you should like this. I can’t wait to have it with roasted chicken or pork tenderloin.
purchased the bannock pie to try for supper tonight…I really like the idea of a first nations dish and hope its a tasty as it sounds. we also purchased a box of the chicken grenades so we will see how they go over too.
had the Bannock Pie and it was just wonderful…the bannock itself was easy to mix and so flavorful…Next time I will make it and cook the pie for the whole hour rather than the directions on the box which was cook for 30 min and then add the Bannock as it was a little on the lukewarm side. I found the vegetable mix very nice and the broth savory and the kids loved it too.
We have checked our store regularly (daily) but the Savoury Bannock Pie did not arrive?
Pretty disappointing to us and our friends!
Sorry…but really did not like the Bannock pie and the grenades were good but expensive for what your getting. Also tried the cheese cake, that was good.
I tried it and found it to be a tasteless mess. I would have preferred the bannock on its own. I usually have good luck with PC products so this was a real disappointment.
Thank you for bringing this show into our homes. I spend alot of time viewing the Foodnetwork and it is great to be able to taste what we are watching.
So far I’ve bought each weeks winning product (except for Chicken Grenades, which is always out of stock). The Bannock Vegi. Pie was horrible!!! I have a very wide palette for taste and had to brush my teeth and gargle three times to get the horrible taste out of my mouth. I am hoping that “batching it up” changed the integrity of the recipe. I really am questioning how this recipt won the taste taste of 4 “foodies”. I plan on cooking it myself and seeing if it is any better.
To The whiner who said that G.W just chose the political choice. WELL MORE LIKE GALEN WESTON Went With The Tasteful Choice that isn’t In his production line yet ANYWHERE… Why not make money from the food that is almost the tastiest and unknown to the whole world of PC. Chew on that bannock
I knew the ballon contestant would be the first to go, and it had nothing to do with ballons or her recipe. Thereafter, the only question was which of the two politically correct options would win; once again, I was correct that the so-called aboriginal item would prevail. Unfortunately, all the effort was definitely unwarranted. The bland contents of this dish make it highly forgettable, except for the memory of having gone to a fair amount of effort for disappointing results.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Bannock Pie. Will definitely buy again and again. My whole family enjoyed. I’m looking for the recipe online also but can’t find it. Thanks.
Just tried this dish and thought it was delicious. I added a little salt and served it as a side with roast pork. It is so nice to see a Native Canadian dish available and I’m glad it won. I love ethnic dishes and we are lucky to have a wide variety on the market but it’s about time we had a traditional Canadian dish. I hope to see more Native dishes come to market in the future.
I disagree with the comment that Galen chose to be politically correct by choosing this dish. I think it’s a case of variety is the spice of life
Excited to try this tonight! I usually prefer deep-fried bannock then baked bannock….but this has sweet potatoes in it, so it will be interesting! And you know, I think its great an aboriginal-inspired dish won. It allows people to try new things! : )
Love the concept and overall this was good…the added step in making the top crust was annoying…thought this was a pop in the oven pie. Not for me
Regarding the topping. Please, use only Three (3) tablespoons of water!! Don’t double up. Yes, it will look crumbly when you mix it up but when you roll it into a ball it will all stick together! Then you pat it down or roller pin it into the size of the pie top and wait for the half hour of baking to be done. Follow the directions, it will all be good. Please do not use more than the 3 tablespoons or you will make the bannock something else than what it should be, and you will miss out. I made this for the first time tonight for mom and myself and it was delicious!
I made this tonight and it’s delicious!! It’s too bad it’s not more healthy, but I like that it is vegetarian. I didn’t mind mixing the bannock at all…it was easy.
I just tried this and I thought it was great. I didn’t see RtoR when it first aired, but I was able to catch all the episodes on the marathon. When I first saw this in stores I wanted to buy it because I was really interested in First Nations food. Better yet, this is a First Nation food that does not involve fish, bison or seal blubber, which are the foods I generally associate with First Nations cuisine. I didn’t buy it at first because there were way too many calories per serving. I know that hazelnuts are “good calories” but the bannock has shortening which is bad. But after I saw the episode, I had to try it. It’s amazing. Sure, it’s not something you can throw in the microwave and be done in two minutes, but it was worth the wait. I love how the protein is nuts. Nuts are under used in savory dishes. I see two great potentials here: it would be perfect to serve to visitors from overseas. What we consider Canadian food is so often inspired by or directly lifted from other countries, so it’s nice to say this is something truly Canadian. Two, this would be ideal for vegetarians having Thanksgiving dinner. I can’t believe people complain that it’s not salty enough. Nothing ruins a pot pie like too much salt. I’d buy this again, but maybe not frequently because of the shortening. It’s hard to believe anyone would think that Weston would choose this for “political reasons.” He chose this for the same reason he chose the others, he thinks it has the better marketing potential.
I tried this and found it to be tasteless…I was really excited about it..but the sauce was bland. I loved the bannock crust…but I really wonder at what point the Salish people discovered sweet potatoes naturally growing on the west coast? Hazel trees…well…there is the possibility..but sweet potatoes?? I am not convinced!
One word describes this for my family…we had it tonight for dinner….
I will be asking for a refund.
Bought it and loved it! Even my fussy husband loved it! I did not find it hard to prepare at all. Way to go, it’s about time First Nation dishes appear as an option! I can’t wait to serve it to friends! I have never been so excited about a frozen dinner….
I recently bought this product at Dominion. It’s awesome. I love it. Mixing the bannock dough is fun. And wow, it’s full of my favourite vegetables – sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, celery. When they stop selling this, I’ll make it from the original recipe.
We had this for dinner tonight it looked so good on the box but it tastes horrible, no flavor, couldn’t even swallow it. Bannock topping was to sweet tasted like cookie dough. Who judged these products? I think their taste buds are worn out! Wont be buying this again, good thing it was on sale for 2.69 its now garbage…
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