II’ve often wanted to get into the maple syrup game: buy some Canadian woods, drill some holes, hang some buckets under some faucets. It seems like a stress-free hobby, and you have your summers off.
Turns out, buckets no longer hang under the taps. These days, they run hundreds of feet of blue plastic tubing between the trees, a giant sap collecting net that feeds a large tank. Looking YouTube Videos of Men Assembling These Vast Systems Turns out, it’s also a fairly low-stress hobby.
In cooking, maple syrup can serve as a general replacement for sugar, as long as you remember two things: (1) you will need to reduce the total amount of liquid in the recipe and (2), despite many nutritional claims made in your name, maple syrup is not any kind of health food. It can be a decent source of minerals like zinc, calcium, and iron, but it is also an excellent source of sugar.
The main reason you shouldn’t replace sugar with maple syrup is the price – sugar costs as much as sugar, while maple syrup costs as much as gin – around £ 15 a liter or so. according to brand and grade. Anything noticeably cheaper can be maple flavored corn syrup. So use the good stuff in moderation, in recipes where their unique woody flavor can make all the difference. Here are 17 of those to move on with.
Maple syrup is often combined with another distinctively American ingredient, walnuts, for mutual benefit. Jamie Oliver’s Maple Syrup and Pecan Tart, for example, is basically a molasses tart with some nuts and a little maple added to the golden syrup (you can swap the two, like in any recipe). The combination appears again in this winning reader recipe by Angela Kim for Maple Buttermilk Pudding. Here the walnuts are confit, with maple syrup and dark rum, cut and served together.
Liam Charles adds pears and maple syrup to a classic pecan pie for a similar effect, while this maple pecan syrup and bacon lolly, yeah you read that right, brings together three great flavors and puts them on a stick.
Maple syrup and bacon could never be separated (they’ve been forced to share cluttered breakfast plates for years), but that sweet-savory combination is more deliberate these days, and not just candy. Here, the bacon gets a maple glaze before joining an egg in a brioche bun.while these Smoked Bacon Maple Syrup Buns have the combination baked.
A slightly less obvious coincidence presents in this parsnip tart and maple syrup, winner of the BBC Good Food contest by Catherine Berwick. The grated parsnip serves the same structural purpose as the grated carrot in a carrot cake, that is, it’s fine as long as you don’t overthink it. Thomasina Miers Maple Oatmeal Banana Bread has a small carrot, along with a little apple and two ripe bananas.
Tom Hunt’s Maple Coconut Croquettes are, he suggests, a great way to eat stale breakfast cereals, though his preferred mix is a combination of puffed rice and other grains like millet and quinoa, making for a Square of fairly adult Rice Krispies. Nigel Slater’s Hazelnut Maple Cookies are another sophisticated teatime treat.
As sweet as it is, the uses for maple syrup are not limited to puddings. Yotam Ottolenghi displays it in salad dressing, specifically in his maple lemon vinaigrette. Also featured in this smoked maple duck salad, in the dressing and in a glaze for the roast duck breast.
Here are two more top reader recipes for savory dishes: The first, for Maple Marinated Eggplant, is by Julia Austin; the second, provided by Suzanne Anderegg, is for Maple Mustard Salmon Packs.
Finally, and fittingly, for an ingredient that costs as much as gin, we present three maple-based cocktails. The first is a simple twist on a classic: Nigel Sandals Maple Manhattan combines good bourbon with Martini Rosso, maple syrup, a cherry, and a little sugar. The ingredients are stirred with ice cubes, 15 times clockwise, 15 times counterclockwise (this is obviously the secret to it all) before straining into a chilled martini glass.
TO sour maple whiskey, like this Gimme Some Oven saves you the hassle of making sugar syrup first – just pour the maple syrup right into the shaker. The Baptiste, from Happiness Forgets in London, is a heady blend of maple, cognac, orange bitters, and dry cider. It may sound a bit intoxicating, but remember: it is an excellent source of zinc.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism