CANADIAN BEAVER TAIL PASTRIES

WHAT IS A BEAVER TAIL PASTRY?

The Beaver Tail is a fried-dough pastry made with whole wheat flour and pulled by hand to resemble the long, flat tail of a beaver. It’s then topped with a myriad of delicious garnishes — anything from the classic cinnamon and sugar to whipped cream and Nutella are fair game.

Contrary to popular belief, the Queues de Castor as they are known in Canada’s other official language weren’t invented in Quebec. But did you know they weren’t invented in Ottawa either?

THE SHORT TALE OF THE LONG BEAVER TAIL

In the late 1970s, Grant and Pam Hooker began selling the iconic Canadian dainty west of Ottawa at the Killaloe craft and community fair. Grant Hooker asserts the recipe they use is third generation, handed down to him by his German-Canadian grandmother. She called the deep-fried pastries she made for breakfast keekla, German for “little cake.” The Hookers used this very recipe for keekla, but it wasn’t until their daughter likened the long flat pastries to beaver tails that the name was coined and quickly trademarked.

But the roots of this tail also go back well before the Hookers’ ingenious daughter named the pastries. Before the arrival of European settlers, Indigenous peoples would cook beaver tails on an open flame in order to access the meat inside the thick tail skin. New arrivals were later inspired to cook their fried dough in the same manner.

Similar to bannock, another Iconic Canadian Food explored in this series, Beaver Tails don’t require rising. Early settlers referred to this type of bread as “baking day bread,” and there’s a similar version of it in the United States called Elephant Ears (though it has never reached the same fame as its Canuck cousin). Source: foodbloggersofcanada.com

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