24 June 2011

Maple syrup makes the world go 'round

The general rule is, when you go sugar shacking, i.e. maple syrup hunting, you need to like maple syrup. You need to like maple syrup because you will drench everything in this sweet Canadian liquid gold*.

[Just looking at the bowl of oreilles de crisse is clogging my arteries.]

Acériculture (I don't think there actually is an English word for it) is bigass industry in Quebec. And this fact, we celebrate by dangerously coming close to inducing adult onset diabetes with the all-you-can-eat formula at our beloved cabanes à sucre.

[A bucket collecting maple sap from a tap. Pretty interesting, especially because it resembles a bucket collecting water but is not!]

Typical sugar shack fare includes maple syrup with a side of baked beans, fluffy omelette, ham, bacon, cretons, sausage, pancakes, followed by homemade doughnuts, and/or maple sugar pie or just plain sugar pie with maple syrup juice.

[Aformentioned homemade doughnuts and maple sugar tartlets.]

(Er, I know my post is much too late in the season for anyone who wants to experience this diabetes-invoking* activity (especially cause it's already la Fête de la St-Jean), but you can make these deep fried pancakes (puffed doughnuts) yourself at home. Recipe below...)

Deep fried pancakes (crêpes frites), AKA beignes soufflées 

2.5 to 3 cups (600 to 750ml) flour
1/2 tsp (2ml) salt
2 to 3 Tbs (30 to 45ml) baking powder
2 Tbs (30ml) sugar
3 Tbs (45ml) butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 to 1.5 cup (250 to 325ml) milk or water (room temperature)
1/4 tsp (1ml) vanilla (optional but delicious)
oil for frying
  1. Make room in stomach.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. 
  3. In another bowl, mix together the milk or water, melted butter, and sugar. 
  4. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Whisk this batter using a whisk until your hands feel like jelly, which should take anywhere between 15 seconds (wimps) to 2 minutes (contenders).
  5. Heat oil to about 150C (300F) in a vessel large with sufficient room so that doughnuts can float. 
  6. Drop the dough into the oil in large dollops, either with a large spoon or some piping mechanism and fry until they float and are golden. Remove from oil onto a dish lined with absorbent paper towels.
  7. Repeat the frying method (step 6.) for the remainder of the batter.
  8. Once cooled, coat or sprinkle with icing sugar, or soak in maple syrup.
TIP: For larger yield, make smaller dollops and/or hide them  from gluttonous siblings.

I'm not sure why but most of mine turned out shaped like stomachs -- maybe because they know precisely where they're heading!

Bonne St-Jean!!

*YES I know maple syrup is also manufactured in parts of the US. But to us, it's as Canadian as BIXI, and Kiefer Sutherland.

**If required, wear elastic waistband pants.

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