Maple sap arrives before the sugar moon

Maple sap arrives before the sugar moon

Maple syrup might be to Quebec what wine is to France and Olive oil is to Spain. Maple is part of the history and the cultural identity of la Belle Province. It is a source of pride. Québec produces 77% of the world’s maple syrup.
Well before the arrival of the Europeans, Aboriginal peoples were already using maple sap. Traditional celebrations surrounded the sugar season including maple dances around the sugar moon (the first full moon of spring).
It’s during spring when nights are still below 0c but days average around 5 or 6c that maple sap starts to flow. Maple trees are literally tapped by boring holes into their trunks so the exuded sap can be collected. It is then boiled down to obtain concentrated syrup.
To celebrate “le temps des sucres” I imagined a decadent cupcake recipe built around maple products. I substituted sugar with maple syrup in the base and used both maple butter and maple liqueur.
Technically I would need more maple syrup in volume to substitute sugar as maple syrup average 66% sugar vs. 96% for granulated sugar. But maple syrup is more than sugar. It is flavour. I kept the sweetness of the dough low so the maple syrup’s woody flavour of vanilla, crème brulée and spice could express themselves without being overpowered.
I used maple butter as the main ingredient in the frosting. Despite its name and consistency, maple butter is not butter but just maple syrup boiled longer and therefore at a higher sugar concentration (86 to 87%). To top it up, I blended the silkiness of maple spirit “Gélinotte”* into it, adding subtle and sophisticated notes. That made all the difference.

Click the PDF icon below to download this cupcake recipe. Please let me know how it goes or leave your suggestions in comments.

March 24, 2012  |  Desserts, Recipes  | 
 


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