Tag Archives: maple syrup

Maple Creemee Pie

The saddest day of the year for me is the day they stop serving maple creemees in my hood. That was on the last weekend of October, when Mac’s Maple closed. It wasn’t a real ice cream day, but to honor the occasion I secured two of their maple creemee pies. I figured they would be my step-down program, and perhaps inspiration for my own recipe for the same. Rigorous testing ensued.

The first test was between the purchased version—the control pie— and my own creation, a riff of Nina’s Margarita Pie. Scouring the Internet for ingredients of legit maple creemees had confirmed that this was a good master recipe to use as a starting point. Immediately, my group of testers confirmed that the control pie’s waffle cone crust was, as one tester indelicately put it “f’ed up.” It was indeed far inferior to the pretzel crust of Margarita Pie.

Still, it needed some tweaks. My first creation tasted good but, as another tactless tester (this one related to me) noted, “you need an axe to get through it.” Here’s where the science came in. I realized that margarita pie contains alcohol, which keeps it from freezing up like a brick. Adding more whipped cream could also help the pie retain a softer, more utensil-friendly, consistency.

I’ll spare you the details to the entire process, but a stalwart tester, when confronted with the two latest versions, said he felt a bit like Chuck Yeager. He was not far off. When Thanksgiving is this close, every pie matters! We needed something as good as Joni Mitchell Apple Pie, Knock Out Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Pilgrim Pie. And, this being a new player amongst traditional faves, we needed perfection.

Friends, my testers unanimously confirm, we now have it. I offer here maple creemee pie perfection, the clear winner, and a non-alcoholic version as well which is a worthy silver medalist. The use of alcohol, I assure you, is not gratuitous—it’s where good science meets good taste. That said, you can save yourself a trip to the liquor store, use a little more maple syrup and a touch of vanilla, and still have yourself a darned good maple creemee pie.

The constants in both versions: The crust is the bomb! It is equally excellent with regular and gluten-free pretzels. The cream is your structural integrity, so whip it good, until it has very stiff (even jagged) peaks, yet hasn’t turned the corner to butter.

Finally, to my Vegan friends. I failed you on this round. I tried two oat milk fillings, this one with nut butter and this one with cashews. I know there are pros out there who can work their sweet magic with such ingredients (looking at you, Sister A), but not me, not yet. I have not given up, but I need a rest. Sometimes, a girl’s gotta not eat.

One happy side note, is that after all this testing, and knowing that I can get my fix anytime, I really am ok with waiting six plus months for my next maple creemee. But you out there? You’ve got a lot more creemee pie capacity in you. I hope you enjoy this and every other deliciousness on your Thanksgiving table. Holidays, here we come!

Maple Creemee Pie

Prep time: 15mins, plus at least 4 hours freezing time.

Makes 1 yummy pie

Ingredients

  • 12 cup margarine or butter
  • 14 cup sugar
  • 3 cups pretzels (to equal about 1 14 cups crushed)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup*
  • ¼ cup maple liqueur* (mine was 30% alc/60 proof)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream.
  • Optional: Maple sugar candies crumbled on as topping**

*For non alcoholic version, omit liqueur, and adjust to use 1/3 cup maple syrup plus 1 tsp vanilla (optional-Chuck Yeager opts out of it).

** These are way optional. Veteran testers say leave it alone as is, but one rogue tester notes that the pro pies featured these, and he was enamored by the flourish.

Method

Make Pie Crust:
Melt margarine or butter and combine with sugar and pretzel pieces. Press into buttered 9” pie pan. Refrigerate or freeze to cool while you make the filling.

Filling: Combine condensed milk, maple syrup and maple liqueur and whisk until it is well incorporated.

Whip the cream until it is very thick and stiff. Fold in the whipped cream as gently as you can until it is fully incorporated. Pour into pie crust and freeze for at least four hours, more to be safe.

Bringing it:

Warm weather travel with this is not recommended, but if you are celebrating away from home, and have the time and space for it to freeze, it is easily assembled on site. Just prep the pretzels first and put them in a Ziploc bag. Portion out the booze and syrup, grab a pie plate and fill a bag with the rest of the ingredients— cream, a stick of butter and that can of sweetened condensed milk that expires sometime this decade. Make the pie right away so it has max time to freeze, and you have max time to put your feet up and prepare to be worshipped.

We can’t all be winners

 

It’s Maple Syrup Time (almost)!

Sap IHere in New Hampshire, we continue to wake up to single digit temperatures and lots of snow still covering the ground. Each day, we don our heavy jackets, wool hats, and warm gloves and head out to the blast cold air hitting our faces, just like we’ve done every day for the past several months. Although most of us love winter, this routine is getting old. We are longing for a day when we can walk outside and feel, well, warm! 

Where we live, there are many serious and not-so-serious maple syrup producers. This is the time of year when you walk into the local country store and hear comments about when the sap is going to run. What causes sap to flow? Well, I’m no physicist, but it has to do with temperatures rising above freezing (key word = “above”). These warmer temps of cause positive pressure to develop in the tree. This pressure causes the sap to flow out of the tree through wound or tap holes. During cooler periods, when temps fall below freezing, suction develops, drawing water into the tree through the roots. This replenishes the sap in the tree allowing it to flow again during the next warm period. So, at a very basic level, warmer temps are needed to make this magic happen; hence the constant chatter about when the sap will run. There is still time and hopefully it will come together in the next couple weeks to make the sap run, and run, and run some more.

In the meantime, I decided to break out the pure New Hampshire maple syrup I had on hand to make this delicious salad dressing.  This is getting me in the mood for spring because it will happen – I promise! 

Enjoy and happy spring everyone.

Ingredients

Salad:
12 cups spring greens
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese or gorgonzola
3/4 cup pecans, caramelized*
1 cup fresh strawberries or orange slices

Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Method

In a large salad bowl, toss spring greens with cheese, pecans, and fruit. To prepare the vinaigrette, mix together all ingredients except olive oil until well blended. Add oil in a slow, steady stream until incorporated. Toss greens with dressing.

*To caramelize pecans, spread pecans on baking tray and roast in 350 degree oven until just starting to turn brown (about 2-3 minutes). Remove and toss with enough melted butter to lightly coat. Sprinkle nuts with 2 tsp white sugar and 1 tsp salt and toss again. Return to oven for a minute or two, being careful not to burn.