If olive oil is liquid gold, then maple is liquid amber. A true gift from the gods – thick, sticky and sweet. Ambrosia? Maybe. A beautiful natural resource? Absolutely. I adore all things maple. Maybe it is because I live in a well known Maple State. Or is it due to my overwhelming love of maple, that I moved to Vermont? It is the old chicken vs. the egg question – something else I have been pondering of late. Personally the answer doesn’t matter much to me, so long as I get to enjoy it. DAILY.
At this point I use primarily maple syrup or maple sugar to sweeten in my kitchen. It is local, abundant and absolutely delicious. I love its rich flavor and lovely color. I honestly can’t remember the last time I used white sugar. When we have friends or family come to visit, they always get maple sugar served with their coffee in the mornings. And at night, finishing off an incredible meal, we often leave the table with a hint of maple on our lips or in the creases of our mouths.
My favorite desserts have always been rich and creamy custards or puddings, or their frozen cousin, ice cream. I remember the first time I tried a Latin-inspired flan swimming in a luscious caramel bath. I also remember the first time I dug my spoon into, cracking through the thin burned sugar crust of a perfect Crème brûlée and watching it give way to reveal all the deliciousness underneath. Just like unwrapping a present.
So if you are like me, and you love maple, and you love custard, this recipe really is the perfect treat for you. A wonderful way to end a harvest meal, like Thanksgiving. Coming to you straight from The Green Mountain State. You can find this recipe and many other delicious “Made in Vermont” recipes in Dishing Up Vermont: 145 Authentic Recipes from the Green Mountain State
1 cup pure Vermont maple syrup
5 farm fresh egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh organic whipping cream
Preheat oven to 275 F. Lightly butter 6 ramekins and set aside. Simmer ½ cup maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until syrup has reduced to a thick consistency. Be careful not to overcook. Immediately divide the syrup between the ramekins and swirl each ramekin to coat with the syrup. Set aside.
Make the custard. In a medium bowl whisk the second ½ cup of maple with egg yolks, vanilla and cinnamon. Heat the cream in a saucepan until just boiling, gradually whisk the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, then divide the mixture evenly into the ramekins.
Set the ramekins into a baking pan, and fill the pan with water halfway up the sides of the ramekins to create a bain marie. Cover baking pan with foil, carefully place in the oven and cook for 50 minutes. During the last 10 minutes check the custards to make sure the center is set and a little wiggly, but not totally cooked.
Remove custards from the water, and chill uncovered in the fridge until cold, at least 4 hours. Custard can be made a day ahead. To serve run a knife around the edges of the ramekins to loosen custards and invert to serve on dessert plates.