I am not sure if spring is really here. I feel there is a “tug of war” between winter and spring! Who is the strongest and at the moment I think winter is winning. The maple syrup production came to a quick standstill, but we had a good start so here are a couple of recipes to use the liquid gold.
Maple Syrup Custard
The original recipe called for sweetened condensed milk and my teeth were already hurting by going through the ingredient list. I changed the “milk” and the flour to make it gluten free. The finished dessert was manageable in sweetness, definitely not over the top. When you are substituting the sweetened condensed milk remember it has to be a “heavy” cream. I used coconut milk but not all of the liquid in the can—remove the coconut cream from the can first then add a bit of the coconut water (from the can) to thin it out a little. You can also use 35% cream. The recipe calls for ramekins which I didn’t have so I used the 1 cup largemouth Mason jars.
- 1/2 cup dark maple syrup
- 150 ml sweetened condensed milk or coconut milk or heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 Tbsp unbleached flour or gluten free oat flour
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or gluten free oat flour
- 2 Tbsp spelt flakes or gluten free oats
- 2 Tbsp coconut sugar or date sugar or brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground almond flour or ground almonds
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
- whipped cream or fresh fruit (optional)
For the maple filling, preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together maple syrup, cream, eggs and vanilla. Add in flour, whisking until smooth. Divide filling between two glass jars (1 cup capacity); transfer glass jars to baking dish. Pour enough water in dish to come up sides of the jar to height of filling.
Bake until filling is set but still slightly jiggly in centre. Transfer to rack to cool for 1 hour at room temperature.
For the topping, bake the topping the same time as the filling. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In bowl, combine spelt or oat flakes, brown sugar, almonds and cinnamon. Add butter; using fingers, mix until it’s coarse like breadcrumbs.
Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet. Bake until crumble is golden stirring halfway through cooking time, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
Garnish the custard with the topping, whipped cream or fresh fruit.
*Double the recipe to make at least four good servings. I made six which was perfect to finish off a heavy meal but could have eaten more!
Butternut Squash with Parmesan and Thyme
I can’t believe the butternut squash from our cold room is still in top shape. Some years they only last until January? Cooking time depends on the size of the squash and I have also cut a big squash into four pieces and it still works and looks just as nice.
- 1 butternut squash or 2 small ones or whatever amount
- you need to feed # of people
- 1/2 cup olive oil (I didn’t use that whole amount)
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- a splash of maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet or square pan with parchment paper.
Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Using peeler, peel squash. (I find it easier to peel the squash first then cut it in half. If the squash is too big to handle then first cut it into half crosswise then half again lengthwise so you end up with 4 pieces.)
Place squash, cut side down, on prepared pan or sheet. Without cutting all the way through, thinly slice squash at 1/8 to 1/4-inch intervals. If you cut through a slice here or there it’s not a big deal!!
With a pastry brush, brush on the olive oil with the olive oil going between the slices. It doesn’t have to be exact. Brush a little maple syrup on top. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the garlic, thyme, and Parmesan.
Loosely tent with foil and bake until tender, about an hour depending on the size of the squash. Check tenderness by piercing with a fork about 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes to brown up the garlic and cheese or broil until golden.