When 100 Mile Locavore posted about her maple syrup haul, I suddenly got a huge hankering for some sweet Canada-in-Spring flavour. Truthfully, maple doesn't make it much past the pancake stage in our kitchen, except with occasional forays out as a sugar replacement (see Chocolate Cherry Cookies).
But maple syrup has just such an interesting flavour. I'm totally inspired by the father of a friend who makes his own in spring - it really had the most unique, smokey flavour that commercial maple syrup lacks.
It's all about that small batch character, you know?
Two years ago, I took a group of ESL students to a local conversation area that taps its trees in spring, and bought some Toronto maple syrup. I admit to wondering how much city pollution affected this particular batch, because it was nothing to write home about.
While I might be dreaming of acres of land replete with sugar maples, the reality is that I'm probably never going to make my own syrup.
I'm okay with that, really.
I'm a fundamentally lazy person.
For now, I'll settle for my jug o'syrup that sitting in the back of my fridge. There's a lot less syrup in there right now after I whipped up this recipe in about 10 minutes time.
You've gotta love last minute desserts.
This recipe comes via Adventures in Dinner, who was kind enough to give me her grandmother's scone recipe the other week. I tweaked it the tiniest bit, but it turned out totally beautifully.
Most importantly, filled with maple goodness. Unsweetened whipped cream is an absolutely necessary accompaniment here.
Maple Sponge Pudding
(from Adventures in Dinner)
4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
1½ cups maple syrup (use grade B or lower for a darker, more intense maple flavour)
3/4 cup water
1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Beat together 2 tbsp butter with brown sugar and egg. Mix in vanilla extract, then stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Pour batter into the base of a 8"x8" pan, or a very deep pie dish. Place dish on a foil lined baking tray (you do not want to end up cleaning burned maple syrup off the bottom of your oven).
3. Bring maple syrup, remaining 2 tbsp butter and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour over batter mixture and place into the oven. Let bake for 40-45 minutes, or until edges have caramelized and centre is set.
Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Your best bet is to accompany it with something not too sweet. A lovely buttermilk sorbet would not go amiss here.