Monday, March 26, 2012

Maple Cream Pie

Maple and cream pie don't often go together, but after developing this recipe, I don't know why - they were made for each other! Using real maple syrup assures that you will not have an artificially strong maple flavor. This pie is fluffy, creamy, and lighter than average. Unlike most cream pies, the whipped cream is folded into the filling instead of sitting on top. If you want a more traditional cream pie, simply top the pie with the whipped cream instead of folding it in.

One Recipe Flaky Pie Crust (you will use only one crust - you can freeze the other one for later use).

Roll the crust out and fill the pie pan with the bottom crust, patting it in firmly and crimping the edges. Prick the crust in a few places with a fork, then line the crust with parchment (or foil) and weigh it with dried rice, dried beans, or pie weights.  Prebake the crust at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. Lift the parchment out, removing the rice, beans or weights and saving them for later use. Put the pie back into the oven for five more minutes to brown, then let the crust cool completely before filling it.

1 2/3 Cups Whole Milk
1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup (Grade B if possible)
2 Tbsp Maple Sugar (use brown sugar if you don't have maple sugar)
1/2 Cup All-purpose flour
dash of salt
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter

Whipped Cream:
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp real maple syrup

On the top of a double boiler, (or in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan) combine the Milk, Syrup, Sugar, Flour and salt. Stir the mixture in the bowl while the water boils beneath it, cooking for about 10-12 minutes until the mixture thickens. *Thickening time depends on how cold your milk is to start with. It can take anywhere from 9-14 minutes to get it nice and thick like a pudding. In the first 5-7 minutes it doesn't thicken much at all, but when it starts it goes fast. So watch the filling carefully and when it starts to thicken, stir it constantly. Once it has thickened, remove it from the heat.

In a separate small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly. Add just a tiny amount of the hot filling mixture into the egg yolks and stir it in. (This is to temper the eggs so they do not cook and curdle.) Add a little more of the hot mixture, stirring again. When you have added about three spoonfuls, you can transfer the egg mixture into the bigger bowl of filling. Put it back on the double boiler and cook another two minutes over medium heat until thickened again. Take off the heat and add in the butter and vanilla. Stir well and let the mixture cool. (I like to put some plastic wrap directly on top of the filling so it won't get a pudding skin on the surface, but leave a bit uncovered at the sides for steam to escape, or condensation will build up and make it runny.

Stir it often until it gets to room temp, then refrigerate.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream and syrup together with a wire whisk until it creates stiff peaks. (it helps to have the cream, bowl and whisk all chilled for this process). When the filling is chilled, gently fold in the whipped cream until they are well-mixed. Pour into the pie shell and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cut with a sharp hot knife and drizzle a bit of real maple syrup on top before serving.

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