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Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Making the most of maple syrup

Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Making the most of maple syrup

This spring has been colder than usual, which is good news for maple syrup farmers in Quebec and Ontario — it extends the window between freezing and thawing, which typically happens between February and the end of April, allowing them more time to tap trees.

The successful season follows a particularly poor year in 2021, which forced Quebec to drain about half of its strategic reserve, drawing nearly 50 million pounds of maple syrup.

We talked about the many ways to use maple syrup on the Calgary Eyeopener this week. 

And though it’s not a substitute for the real thing, you can make your own pancake syrup by bringing a 2:1 ratio of brown sugar to water to a boil, then taking it off the heat and letting it cool (though yes, you can also serve it up warm). 

Add a few drops of vanilla or maple extract if you like, and store it in the fridge for a month or more.

Skillet Granola

You can make any quantity of granola in a skillet on the stovetop. There’s no need to turn on the oven or make an enormous batch. 

I’ll provide approximate measurements here for those I know like those guidelines, but really you can just wing it — toast oats, nuts and seeds and then add enough maple syrup (or honey, golden syrup or brown rice syrup) to make it start clumping together, typically about one-quarter the quantity of oats. 

Feel free to add a big spoonful of nut butter, too, if you like. 

Cook until it turns golden and cool!

Skillet granola can be customized with all different types of dried fruit, chocolate, seeds and nuts. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cup(s) old-fashioned (large flake) oats
  • ½ cup nuts (chopped, sliced or slivered)
  • ¼-½ cup seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chia)
  • ¼-½ cup coconut (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter, vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 1/3-½ cup maple syrup (or golden syrup, honey, etc.)
  • a shake of cinnamon (if you like)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a handful of dried fruit or chopped chocolate (raisins, cherries, cranberries, chopped apricots — optional)

Put your oats in a large skillet (don’t crowd it; you want enough room to move everything around) with the nuts, seeds, coconut and butter or oil. 

Set over medium-high heat. Toast for a few minutes, until it’s starting to turn pale golden and fragrant.

Drizzle over the syrup, add a shake of cinnamon and salt and stir often until the mixture turns deep golden. The oats will absorb some of the syrup, which will also caramelize in the hot pan. 

Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool in the pan, then add dried fruit or chocolate, if you like. 

Store extras in an airtight container. 

Makes as much as you like!

Maple Syrup Pie

There are so many recipes out there for maple syrup pie (Quebec cookbook author Ricardo Larrivée has a great one that calls for only maple syrup, no brown sugar).

This recipe is adapted slightly from Anita Stewart’s 2008 book, Canada.

Settle your sweet tooth with a maple syrup pie. It takes only a few ingredients and about an hour in the kitchen. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla or maple extract
  • pastry for a single crust pie

Roll out your pastry and fit it into a 9-inch pie plate, crimping the edge. 

Chill while you preheat the oven to 350 F and stir together the filling.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cream, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla. 

Pour into the shell and bake for 45-50 minutes, until deep golden and set. It should be jiggly but uniformly so.

Cool on a wire rack before serving, preferably with whipped cream.

Serves: 8.