2016 is proving to be a great year for fans of maple syrup, according to the Ontario Maple Syrup producers’ blog. A recent post states, “In Ontario, the maple syrup processing season has shaped up to be a fantastic year for syrup quality and yield, with a full range of colour grades and flavour intensities.” This dessert needs no explanation, I’m sure. It’s an homage to not only the indigenous people who first discovered the liquid gold inside maple trees but also the hours of hard work that to this day go into each bottle of maple syrup. Enjoy!
- 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) heavy (35%) cream
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla bean paste
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup (180 mL) maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons (60 mL) maple or brown sugar for brûlée topping
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a small saucepan, heat cream and vanilla, stirring often, till cream is steaming and bubbles are just beginning to form around the edge of the pan. Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and eggs with maple syrup. Set a strainer over the bowl and pour the lukewarm cream mixture into the egg mixture.
- Stir well to combine. Don’t stir too vigorously as you don’t want to create too many air bubbles.
- Strain the egg and cream mixture into a pitcher or measuring cup (for easy pouring) then divide among eight small ramekins.
- Put the filled ramekins in a large heatproof baking dish and carefully pour hot water into the baking dish to come two thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins.
- Carefully transfer the filled baking dish into the preheated oven.
- Bake until the custard is just firming up but still slightly wobbly in the centre (you can test this by gently jiggling the baking pan) – about 30 minutes.
- Cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes then refrigerate.
- 15 minutes before serving time, remove the ramekins from the refrigerator.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the top of each ramekin with 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) of maple or brown sugar.
- Use a kitchen torch to scorch the sugar on top. Let sit 2 minutes then serve.