Mad about maple
My favorite flavors are butterscotch, caramel, molasses and maple, in that order. While we likely have an abundant supply of the first three, which are all based on sugar cane, a warm climate crop, maple, from the sugar maple, is rapidly becoming a scarce and precious commodity (one more casualty of global warming). As a natural product that is simply tapped, filtered and bottled, maple sugar and syrup are among the healthiest of the sweeteners available.
So, we had better enjoy it while we can. It is increasingly expensive, especially in Southern California where the cheapest maple syrup is now about $18 for a pint.
In a recent post, I referred to this pie as my yearly choice for Thanksgiving. It is also my favorite pie of all time. I adapted it from a pie created by the pastry chef at the Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens in Quebec. It is deceptively simple to make and sinfully rich.
You can make it using my Perfect Pie dough, with the addition of 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar. That makes it a rich or sweet dough (pate brisee).
If you want this to be gluten free, use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour and make the dough in the same way as you would with regular flour. Or you can try an exciting alternative recipe from GFandme’s mom Mary.
Beth’s Maple Pie (Tarte au Sirup d’Erable)
- Pie dough, thoroughly chilled and then set out for 15 minutes at room temperature (see above; you will only need one crust. My Perfect Pie dough formula is for two crusts. However, since it is scalable, you can cut it right in half. Or, make two crusts and freeze one for future use; alternately, you can use the extra dough to cut out fall leaves to place around the edge of the open pie, to give it a really professional touch).
- 1 2/3 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature (remember not to use anything but Grade A large eggs)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (dark amber or grade B is preferred – don’t use Log Cabin or the like – they are not pure maple syrup)
- 2 teaspoons of butter, melted and cooled
- Garnish: creme fraiche or unsweetened whipped cream, since the pie itself is very sweet
- Preheat the oven to 350F; adjust the racks to the top and bottom thirds of the oven.
- Roll out the dough into an 11-inch round on a lightly dusted surface (you can use a mix of whatever flour you are using and confectioner’s sugar. Too much flour will ruin the pie dough and make it dry and tough, but confectioner’s sugar will work for this sweet dough, without those drawbacks) with a dusted rolling pin.
- Folding the dough in half and half again (so it is a triangular wedge), lift it carefully and place the point of the wedge in the middle of an 8″ glass pie baking dish, then open the folds, first to a half circle and then a full circle in the pie dish.
- Gently press the dough to conform to the shape of the pie dish. Trim excess dough and crimp the edges or gently lay cut out pie dough leaves along the edge, pressing down gently to attach them.
- Whisk together the brown sugar and eggs until creamy.
- Add the cream, syrup, and butter, then whisk until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake the pie in the lower third of the oven until the pastry is golden and the filling is puffed and looks dry but still trembles, about 50 to 60 minutes.
- Cool the pie on a rack until it reaches room temperature (the filling will set as the pie cools).
- Note: if you don’t have an 8-inch pie plate, substitute a 9-inch tart pan and pre-bake the crust before baking with the filling. If you pre-bake the crust, you can keep it from blistering by spreading a cup or two of dry, uncooked kidney beans over the bottom of the pie.
- Serve with chilled creme fresh or whipped cream. I also like it with hard sauce or creme anglaise, but that will be very rich.
Images: southernliving.com,101pies.com, epicurious.com, gourmet.com,abuckscountychristmas.com