Maple syrup pie, made with syrup only a couple months old and eggs laid more plentifully as spring days lengthen, slides into the pie-filling void between the last apples from the previous fall and the first red stalks of rhubarb. Those of us accustomed to finding any ingredient in the store at any time of year might have a hard time envisioning the head scratching among early American housewives trying to figure out what to put in a crust for dessert during late spring.
The family of sugar and egg pies, often called transparent pies, is a large and distinguished one and includes lemon meringue, vinegar, pecan, chess, shoo-fly and related cousins such as buttermilk and key lime pies. Sugar, egg yolks, sometimes a bit of milk or cream, and flavoring reliably bake into a cross between a curd and custard. You can vary the fillings by the sort of sweetening you use — brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses or maple syrup.
Jacqueline Huggins of Alton, Barbara Carr of Searsport and Betsy Jaegerman of Harrington came through with recipes, each quite different from the other. I tried two, and found I liked Jacqueline’s slightly better, an opinion shared by my friends Bill and Jean. Of the two, the one from Barbara had more maple flavor and was lots sweeter, but we liked the texture and slightly less sweetness of Jacqueline’s recipe.
By the way, make sure you use real maple syrup and avoid the ones that list corn syrup among the ingredients. Corn syrup will not behave in the recipe the same way the maple syrup does.
Makes one 9” pie, about eight servings.
1 baked 9” pie shell
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup fancy grade maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks. Whisk in the brown sugar, cream, maple syrup and vanilla. Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into the pie shell. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the center is nearly firm. Allow to cool before serving. Top with whipped cream.
Looking for — chewy noels. I know, it is early for Christmas, but Katherine Grover in Sedgwick is looking for the recipe and we’d like to help her out. She says, “They are very good — the batter is mostly brown sugar & eggs & the melted butter soaks into the batter as they bake. Almost like fudge.” Oh, yum. Recipe, anyone?
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