Tuesday, November 23, 2010

La Tire de Ste. Catherine

The following recipe was submitted by Josee Bergeron for the upcoming feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria! Thank you Josee!

Making la tire de Ste. Catherine is a French-Canadian tradition that began when St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame, made these sweet candies each year on November 25th to attract young students to her school. These taffies were so popular that eventually young maidens began making them on the feast of St. Catherine and gave them to the single men around town in order to display their cooking skills in the hopes of finding a husband. Making this taffy is such a fun activity for kids. It's so exciting for them to watch the brown taffy turn bright golden as it's being pulled and then eating it while it's still slightly warm. What a wonderful way to celebrate the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria!

Here is my family's traditional recipe for la tire de Ste. Catherine:

La Tire de Ste. Catherine


1 cup molasses
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. baking soda


1.  Grease a cookie sheet with plenty of butter.

2.  Combine all the ingredients, except the baking soda, into a large heavy bottomed pot.

3.  Bring the mixture to a boil and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot.

4.  Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 250F (for soft taffy), or 260F (for hard taffy).

5.  When the mixture has reached the desired temperature, remove the pot from the heat source and add the baking soda. Stir the mixture. The baking soda will react with the mixture and make it swell, this is why you don't want your pot to be too small.

6.  When the baking soda is mixed in well, pour the mixture into the well buttered cookie sheet and let it cool enough to handle.

7.  Butter your hands well and tear off a piece of the taffy. The piece can be as big or small as you want. A handful is a good amount to start with.

8.  Begin pulling the taffy as follows: Pull the taffy out into a line. Fold the taffy in halve and then give it a twist. Pull it out into a line again. Continue doing this until the taffy turns golden. This part is a lot of fun for the kids to do!

9.  When the taffy is golden in colour you can cut it into chunks and then wrap it in wax paper. Or you can simply eat it. Yum!

St. Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us! 
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  1. This sounds like a very yummy activity! I love the story behind it too!

  2. Very tasting looking. We love candies like this.

  3. Wonderful! Come November, we will have to try this for our Wednesday Desserts!

  4. I made this 2 days ago and I had to make 2 batches just to make sure I had enough for myself after family requested some ... Very simple very fast. Just be sure u have a friend to help. Or be very fast at pulling the candy and wrapping it. If not it will get hard and almost unmanageable to cut

  5. I haven't done this for about sixty years! Reminded of some great memories! Thanks

  6. Here is another recipe I found for the same thing, but with slightly different ingredients. I will be making these this year. http://www.mommypotamus.com/honey-and-cream-taffy-recipe/

  7. We used to do this in grade school- my favorite day of the year!

  8. I could be wrong, but this product seems to be almost completely SUGAR! Hahahaha! 5 calories per teensy gram, sigh.

  9. I have been making these for years. My mom`s recepe is slightly different from this and I bring the temp right up to precisely 265F°.
    Here`s a trick that can help you, put a couple pair of scissors in the freezer 1/2 hr prior to making the recepe. That will help you cut the pieces!

    3 tasses sucre blanc
    1 tasse de mélasse
    1 tasse d’eau bouillante
    ½tasse de beurre
    3 c. à table vinaigre
    une pincée de sel
    Mettre 2 paires de ciseaux dans le congélateur.

    Dans un chaudron, mettre tous les ingrédients et faire cuire lentement au début (jusqu’àce que le sucre soit bien fondu). Faire bouillir à feu medium jusqu’à ce qu’elle forme des boules dures dans l’eau glacée : 265°F.

    Eau glacé = prépare toi un verre d'eau avec des glaçons dedans, c'est une 2ième facon de t'assurer que la tire est prêt. Lorsque tu arrives prêt de 265F, avec une cuillere met une petite quantité dans ton verre d'eau et regarde si des petites boules se forment... (Essaye le quand la température est à 200F tu vas voir la différence)

    Retirez du feu et ajoutez :
    ½c. à thé de soda à pâte tamisé
    ½c. à thé de vanille

    Brassé pour mélanger le soda à pâte dans le chaudron. (ca devrait pas prendre plus que 10 secondes) Remette le chaudron sur le feu. Laissez échapper quelques bouillons. Retirez du feu. Versez dans un plat beurré. (beurrez les côtés) Refroidir sans laisser durcir. (si durant l`hiver, mettre le plat dehors) Étirez quand la tire est encore chaude, mais pas trop chaude pour éviter les ampoules. Sortez le ciseau du congélateur et coupez avec cizeau et mettez en papillottes.