Back in my kitchen in Toronto, I dug up my three favourite maple syrup recipes to share with you. I also created a video of my recent visit with my dad during maple season, which can be viewed on the Edible Toronto website.

OEUFS AU SIROP D’ÉRABLE Maple Poached Eggs

This recipe might sound odd, and is perhaps an acquired taste. It’s incredibly rich and you have to be crazy about maple syrup to appreciate it. It is a staple at cabanes à sucre (sugar shacks) in Quebec but is dead easy to make at home. It’s great for a wintry brunch: warming, filling, and energizing.

1 to 1 ½ cups pure maple syrup (I usually add a couple of teaspoons of water)

6 large eggs

Bring the maple syrup to a gentle simmer and gently break in the eggs. (I find that cooking two at a time works best so you don’t crowd them too much.) Poach the eggs for about 3 minutes if you want soft yolks, longer if you prefer firmer yolks.  These are great served over crêpes or on toast with bacon, but I just eat them on their own to get the full flavour.

MOUSSE À L’ÉRABLE

This maple mousse is my stepdad Gary’s signature dessert. It once won him first prize in a dessert contest and I can say without hesitation that it is the most divine thing I have ever tasted.

Makes 8 servings

3 tbsp water
1 envelope gelatine
¾ cup pure maple syrup
3 large egg yolks
2 ½ cups whipping (35%) cream
½ cup raisins
½ cup slivered almonds
1 tbsp rum or brandy
chocolate curls for garnish (optional)

In a measuring cup or large glass, add the water. Sprinkle in the gelatine; set aside for 5 minutes. In a saucepan, heat the maple syrup over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat just before the syrup comes to a boil. Whisk the gelled water into the hot syrup until it is completely dissolved.

Whip the egg yolks until light and frothy. In a slow, steady stream and whisking constantly, add about one-third of the egg yolks into the syrup mixture. Add the remaining egg yolks and whisk well. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator, stirring the mixture frequently, until thickened but not fully set, 30 to 60 minutes.

Beat the cream until soft peaks are formed; set aside. Using a rubber spatula, stir the raisins and most of the slivered almonds (reserving some as a garnish) into the syrup mixture. Gently fold in three-quarters of the whipped cream. Pour the mixture into a large shallow bowl or other suitable dish. Refrigerate the mousse and the remaining whipped cream for 2 hours. Gently stir the rum into the remaining whipped cream. Just before serving, decorate the mousse with dollops of the whipped cream. Sprinkle the remaining slivered almonds and the chocolate curls (if using) on top.

TARTE AU SIROP D’ÉRABLE

Nothing makes me feel more connected to my Québécois roots than digging into a rich slice of traditional maple syrup pie! In French, there is a wonderful expression, se sucrer le bec, literally translated as sweetening your mouth, or indulging your sweet tooth. I always think of this expression when I eat this dessert. Now, there is a bit of controversy surrounding the making of an authentic maple syrup pie: many recipes out there call for brown sugar. But in my opinion, maple syrup pie should only contain maple syrup. Here is the recipe I like to use. The consistency is like that of pecan pie, gooey and delicious.

Makes one 9-inch pie

Double the quantities for the filling to make two pies, if desired

Pastry

1 batch of your favourite pie crust pastry

Filling

1 ½ cups pure maple syrup
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup whipping (35%) cream
2 tsp all-purpose flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs

Prepare the pastry: Roll out the dough for one crust. (If your recipe makes two crusts, you can freeze the other half of the dough.) Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate with the dough. Flute or trim off the edges. Place in the refrigerator until the filling is ready.

Prepare the filling: In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the maple syrup just to a boil.  Cook the maple syrup at a gentle bubble, reducing the heat if necessary, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until melted. Stir in the cream. Transfer about ½-cup of the mixture to a small bowl; whisk in the flour and salt and then whisk this back into the mixture in the saucepan. Allow to cool slightly. Beat the eggs until light and frothy; whisk them into the mixture in the saucepan.

Prepare the pie: Pour the filling into the pie shell.  Bake in a 325º F oven until the centre is golden brown and bubbly, and firm when lightly touched, about 35 to 45 minutes.

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