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.
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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 - 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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