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Servings: 8 to 10

Maple syrup should be rebranded as a cheery symbol for aging; when it’s new and light, the sap has little complexity. It only becomes sweet and luscious, bold and wise, once it has spent time boiling. It has to brown, thicken, and slow to become truly wonderful. Keep a close eye on the crust during the blind bake. The walnuts can push the crust from perfectly golden to unpleasantly dark in the blink of an eye. The cloud of whipped cream should not be sweetened. Not only does whipped cream have an excellent natural dairy flavor that can be muted by too much sugar, the pie itself is sweet enough. This recipe is excerpted from The Joys of Baking.

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 1-1/2 oz. walnuts (1/3 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup/ 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 to 4 Tbs. ice water

For the filling

  • 1-1/4 cups pure maple syrup
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

To finish

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 540
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 320
  • Fat (g): 36
  • Saturated Fat (g): 20
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Cholesterol (mg): 200
  • Sodium (mg): 160
  • Carbohydrates (g): 50
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Sugar (g): 29
  • Protein (g): 7

Preparation

Prepare the pastry

  • In a food processor, combine the walnuts and sugar, and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt, and pulse to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal with some pea-size pieces. Add 2 Tbs. of the ice water, and pulse until the dough is evenly moistened. The dough should hold together when squeezed, but not be too wet. Add up to 2 more Tbs. of ice water, if necessary. Tip out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and using the plastic to gather the dough together, form it into a disk. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. (Alternatively, you can freeze the dough for up to 1 week.)
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch-diameter round (about 1/8 inch thick). Transfer the dough to a 9-inch standard pie plate. Trim the excess dough and fold it to make a decorative edge. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 15 minutes.
  • Line the frozen shell with parchment paper or foil, and fill with pie weights. Bake the crust until the edges are lightly golden and the crust beneath the parchment is dry, about 25 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights, and continue to bake the crust until it is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Set a fine-mesh sieve next to the crust for later.

Prepare the filling

  • In a small saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue to cook the syrup until it has reduced by about half, about 12 minutes. (You can occasionally pour the syrup into a glass measuring cup to check the volume.)
  • In a medium saucepan (away from the stovetop), whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch until smooth. In a slow stream, while whisking, add the milk and cream. Add the butter, salt, and reduced maple syrup. Don’t worry if the syrup seizes. It will smooth out in the next step when you heat the custard.
  • Cook the milk mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it has thickened and come to a very low boil, about 7 minutes. Cook the custard for 1 minute more, and then pour it through the sieve into the cooled crust and spread it out evenly. Press a piece of waxed paper directly onto the surface of the custard, and transfer the pie to the fridge. Chill the pie for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. To serve, top the pie with whipped cream.

Reviews

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Reviews (2 reviews)

  • Debo1951 | 11/27/2019

    I used my own crust so I can't confirm cdwilliams' observation on that, but I agree with the other comments. I avoided the giant ball problem by using a food processor as follows:
    - Use a 3-qt saucepan to reduce syrup
    - Toward end of reducing process, warm milk and cream in small saucepan
    - Whisk butter, warm milk/cream, and salt into reduced syrup.
    - Place egg yolks and corn starch in food processor. Process until smooth.
    - With motor running, add warm maple-milk mixture to yolks through chute.
    - Return to syrup saucepan and continue with recipe. Any coagulated syrup at bottom of pan can be stirred into custard as it cooks.
    Delicious!

  • cdwilliams | 10/02/2019

    Delicious - but please read this review before you make this recipe!!

    Several issues as written:
    - The piecrust took 35 min in a preheated oven to brown. Usually it takes 15 minutes to blind bake a crust at 425; make sure to plan extra time to blind bake this crust at 350. FYI, the oven is true to temp and tested regularly.
    - Given the amount of syrup, the maple flavor is not as intense as you might expect. I recommend using a darker grade of syrup for max flavor
    - Do NOT reduce the maple syrup in a small pan, it will boil over. Reduce it in a much larger pan (2-3Qt) than you think you need. You can thank me later on this one.
    - It will take at least 20 minutes to reduce the maple syrup, even if you are not trying to prevent it from boiling over onto your stove.
    - When you put the syrup in the cream mixture it will not "seize", it will turn into a giant ball of semi-solid hard candy which you will slowly dissolve into the creamy base. Do not even THINK about using a whisk, the semi-hard maple will form a large hard ball inside the whisk and be much more difficult to dissolve. This step will also take much longer than written, plan for 20 minutes.
    - This is minor in comparison to the other issues, but I think the whipped cream would benefit from a bit of sugar, maybe 2Tbs.

    All in all a great recipe that I will make again. That said, I depend on Fine Cooking to fully test the recipes they publish. That was clearly not done in this case.

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