Saturday, March 5, 2016

I'm getting sappy...

Maybe I feel a little bad about giving you actual hearts for Valentine's day. Maybe I'm sorry that when I do show desserts, they tend to be atrocities like flat, pale microwaved cupcakes and muffins. For whatever reason, today I'm going sweet on you. (Okay, I'm really going sweet just because it's maple season, but sometimes it's nice to at least pretend I have genuine concern for the readers' tastes....)

I love maple syrup and almost every year I go to local parks so I can stand in the slush next to a steaming vat of sap and the park workers can tell me once again how it takes about 43 gallons of sap for every gallon of syrup they make. Then I can get away with a taste of maple sap and maple syrup at one park, or maple syrup, maple sugar, and maple gingerbread(!) at another. 

Last year, I went on a special walk to see them actually tap a tree, but it was so cold, the sap wasn't running and the only thing that came out of the tree was a sad trombone sound effect. I've been way too busy to go this year, so my real motive for this post is to make myself feel better about missing out on the hot maple-y action. 

I'm not sure what recipe the park uses for its maple gingerbread, but here's one from 1971's The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery

Even though maple is a late winter/ early spring product, it's in a lot of fall-ish recipes. Doesn't matter what time of year it is, I would be all upons this beauty from The Pecan Cookbook (Koinonia Farm, 1967):

Maple Pecan Pumpkin Pie with Maple Whipped Cream sounds heavenly to me! Maybe it's a little light on the pecans for a recipe in a pecan cookbook, calling only for an unspecified amount to be used as garnish, but that's a minor complaint for all the pumpkin-maple-gingery goodness.

The American Woman's Cook Book (edited by Ruth Berolzheimer, 1942) initially made me wonder if their maple recipe might be a sweet mixed drink...

...but Maple Scotch is apparently just a variation of butterscotch.

I found a couple recipes that were a bit more unusual, though. Blueberry Hill Menu Cookbook (Elsie Masterton, 1963) turns the maple into dumplings:

The only dessert dumplings I knew of were filled with fruit, but this recipe uses a maple-lemon syrup to cook dumplings similar to the kind used in chicken and dumplings recipes. (Well, except for the vanilla... I hope nobody puts vanilla in their chicken dumplings!)

The surprise hit just might be from Going Wild in the Kitchen (Gertrude Parke, 1965), which suggests this as a sundae topping:

A taste of the tropics with pineapple, a suspicion of spring in the maple syrup, the nip of spices and rum, all over ice cream as a reminder of the melting snowballs or as a promise of summer to come... Your choice. This seems like the perfect antidote to late February/ early March.

Have a great late winter/ early spring weekend, and if you get a chance, slurp up some maple syrup for me! 

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