Cabane à Sucre: Sweet Tooth

Montreal Chef Martin Picard’s Remote Sugar Shack Serves Up Maple Syrup-Enriched Dishes

The indulgent dishes and rustic interiors at chef Martin Picard’s Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon in St-Benoît de Mirabel, Québec are captured by photographic duo Gemma and Andrew Ingalls. Located about 45 minutes outside of Montreal in a region known for its exquisite maple syrup, the restaurant is a nod to traditional “sugar shacks”––small dining establishments that serve up sweet treats during the maple syrup harvest. A pioneer of Montreal’s nose-to-tale food movement and the man behind popular fine-dining spot Au Pied de Cochon, Picard is now in his fourth season at Au Pied's sister eatery. The restaurant produces its own brand of maple syrup from around 4,000 taps in its surrounding grounds and incorporates the saccharine substance into every dish on the menu. “Maple syrup is Canada’s form of pure sugar,” explains Picard. “It flavors food beautifully, both sweet and savory, with its distinct and delicious taste.” This year the establishment’s reservations for the season were filled within just 12 hours of opening, with some 15,000 guests expected to visit the establishment before it closes on May 6. Preferring to take his maple syrup “on it’s own, or on pancakes,” here the chef shares his recipe for the latter, taken from his book Sugar Shack Au Pied de Cochon

Sugar Shack Au Pied de Cochon Pancakes

Serves four (12 pancakes in total)


  • 1L (4 cups) milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 560g (4 cups plus 3 tablespoons) flour
  • 40g (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) cornstarch
  • 15g (4 tablespoons) baking powder
  • 2g (1/4 teaspoon) sugar
  • Duckfat

  1. Beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl until well blended. Set aside.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together and pour all at once into the liquid ingredients. 
  3. Using a whisk, vigorously beat the batter until smooth. Refrigerate for one hour. This resting period allows the baking powder to activate.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat the duck fat to 180C (350F). There should be 4 to 5 cm (about 2 inches) of fat in the pan.
  5. Using a baster or ladle, add three or four portions of batter to the fat. Fry for about one minute, spooning the cooking fat over the pancakes continuously so they puff up and crisp. Turn the pancakes and continue frying for about one minute until golden brown.
  6. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove the pancakes from the fat and drain on paper towel. Keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  7. Transfer the pancakes to a serving plate and pour a generous amount of maple syrup over them. Eat while hot. 


The pancake batter will keep for two days in the fridge, but the longer you wait, the less effective the baking powder will be.

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