I couldn’t let another winter go by without dedicating a post to our beloved national treasure: the Beavertail.
Now I’ll admit that the process nearly killed me. I don’t think I’ve ever spent as much time nor created as many versions of a food item in my life (a fine baker and pastry maker I am not). But in the end, I ended up with something not entirely dissimilar in taste and appearance to the Canadian winter classic! (or so I like to think).
As my Canadian readers well know, Ottawa is home to the largest skating rink in the world. The Rideau Canal Skateway spans a distance of 7.9 kilometres (4.8 miles) through the downtown core of the Canadian Capital. Along the way, skaters can enjoy rest stops, ice side fires, and plenty of treats including – you guessed it – one of Canada’s best known culinary icons, the Beavertail. As tradition goes (at least in this house), if you skate the Canal end-to-end, you’ve earned yourself a Beavertail!
So what are Beavertails? According to its makers, Beavertails are whole wheat pastries that are stretched by hand to resemble the tail of one of our best known symbols: the beaver.
our very own Who Village
Source: National Capital Commission
One final word before I get to the recipe.
Beavertails do not need fixing. They are positively delicious in their own right and I’ve certainly enjoyed my share of bites (I can’t seem to eat an entire Beavertail). The changes I’ve made are typical of the type of thing I do here at Inspired Edibles – less sugar and a preference for the use of whole, minimally refined ingredients. I’ve also oven baked the pastry rather than frying it.
So, after many iterations (and some exasperation), I present to you, without further ado, my final version of the Beavertail!!
- 3/4 cup milk variety of choice
- 3 Tbsp coconut palm sugar, (substitute any coarse grain sugar – brown sugar works just fine)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (substitute olive oil)
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp bread machine yeast
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp palm sugar (substitute any coarse grain sugar – brown sugar works just fine)
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 75% cocoa chocolate, melted
- chopped nuts/seeds
- fresh squeezed lemon
I tried many, many, different versions of flour (kamut, quinoa, spelt, wheat) and baking methods for this recipe and ultimately decided to go with a whole wheat flour and the use of a bread machine.
If you prefer to make the pastry the long way, there are other versions available on-line that will take you through that process. I was more interested in the ingredients.
You could also simplify this recipe by using a whole grain tortilla or sliced pita bread (which I used many times when the boys were young) as your base. This time I wanted to create something that resembled the Beavertail a little bit more.
Makes 8 Beavertails.
Once dough cycle is completed, remove dough from machine and knead by hand for one or two minutes, shaping the dough into a ball. Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface and cover with a cloth for 15 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 F.
Place Beavertails on a foil lined baking sheet that has been gently sprayed with olive oil.
Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small pinch bowl.
Brush each Beavertail with some olive oil followed by a dusting of cinnamon-sugar.
Remove Beavertails from oven and enjoy as is or with some toppings…
The toppings below are illustrated on a prior dough version – here is my egg-less, yeast-less spelt version (chewy, heavy/dense and frankly not-so great tasting), the toppings however were lovely:
The dark chocolate-hazelnut topping (mmm…):
I hope you’ve had some fun learning about one of our national treasures (we take our Beavertails seriously ;o)).
Perhaps you might even give them a try sometime or, better yet, come up to Ottawa for a skate (and a real Beavertail)! We’ll look forward to seeing you.
The Rideau Canal Skateway – Source: Government of Canada
(the only time I ever stood a whisker of a chance of keeping up with my boys!)