In my last post we were harvesting maple syrup in New Zealand with Dave DeGray and so this post I thought you’d like to see a couple of the delicious recipes we made with the finished product. Maple syrup is not a mainstay of New Zealand cuisine. In fact I’m afraid to say that a lot of what passes for “maple syrup” on our store shelves has never been within 100 yards of a maple tree. But Kiwi’s do have a sweet tooth and most of us have come to try maple syrup on pancakes if nothing else.
Being a curious cook I thought there must be more interesting uses for it so I asked Dave for his favourite and he shared that he loved to finish off a few rashers of bacon with a good pour of syrup, which sounded worth investigating.
Then a Canadian friend of mine heard of my syrup gathering antics and lent me a maple syrup recipe booklet he found on a trip home to the land of the maple leaf. He became all misty eyed just at the thought of "sugaring" and all the traditions and practices that go with it. Sugar Snow or Jack Wax Taffy is apparently a real treat made by pouring the hot finished syrup over a pan of fresh snow. The snow turns the syrup into maple toffee without it crystallizing and then you pick it off the snow and chew it.
Maple syrup makes an excellent addition to both sweet and savoury dishes and can be substituted for sugar in any recipe. Use 3/4 of a cup of syrup for each cup of sugar and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons for every cup of sugar substituted.
Here are a couple of the best recipes I found from the booklet which I hope you enjoy.
Maple Pumpkin PieBase:
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/3 cup tightly packed brown sugar
• 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup chopped nuts (hazel, walnut or brazil)
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling:• 2 eggs
• 1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 2 cups pumpkin puree
• 1 cup of cream
To make the base mix together the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the remaining crust ingredients until crumbly. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a deep 9 inch pie pan and chill. Halve the filling and cooking time if using a shallow sided flan tin. To make the filling, combine all the ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover the edges of the crust with foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake in a pre-heated oven 356 F (180 C) for 55 - 60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with dollop of whipped cream.
Crispy Maple Pork Spareribs
(Makes enough glaze to coat 1lb 5oz (1.5kg) of ribs)• 1 small onion
• 6 oz (175 mL) pure maple syrup
• 1 tablespoon chilli sauce
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 392 F and roast the pork ribs on a rack for 20-30 minutes depending on size. While they are roasting finely chop the onion and boil it with the remaining ingredients for 5 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven, drain any fat off and reduce the heat to 356 F (180 C). Place the ribs in a foil lined baking tin and brush all over with the sauce. Return to the oven and bake uncovered, mixing every 5 minutes to distribute the glaze, until they are done. They will burn quickly at this point so don’t leave them. Rest for 5 minutes before serving with lots of paper towels for sticky fingers!