Maple Rice Pudding

17 04 2011

A bottle of Canadian maple syrup

If you live in Eastern Canada or New England, maple syrup is everywhere at this time of year. Whether you take the time to visit a sugar shack or are shopping at the supermarket, there are usually a variety of syrups readily available. It’s versatile, delicious and makes a great gift if you’re visiting friends abroad.  If you live don’t live in an area that produces maple syrup, it can often be found at specialty shops or by mail order. It’s worth seeking out the real thing – imitation syrups and flavourings are a poor substitute.

This dessert is made with arborio rice, which can be found at most grocery stores. Arborio is an Italian rice that’s often used for risotto. It gives off starch as it cooks, making it perfect for creamy rice pudding.  Don’t skip the step of folding in the whipped cream at the end – it lightens the texture of the pudding, making it less dense.

Serving Tip: I like to scoop the pudding into individual dishes (martini glasses work well). For an extra boost of maple flavour, drizzle a bit of syrup over the pudding before serving.

For the recipe, check out Suite 101.com: Maple Rice Pudding.

Maple Rice Pudding, garnished with chopped walnuts

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

Get updates from The Seasonal Gourmet on Facebook and Twitter.  Join the conversation today!

Advertisements




Thanksgiving Desserts

7 10 2010

 

Maple-Caramel Custards are a delicious alternative to pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table

 

Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend so it’s time to start thinking about the dinner menu.  Turkey will be on most tables and I’ve given a number of suggestions for excellent side dishes (Thanksgiving Side Dishes).  However, for many people, the highlight of the holiday meal is dessert.

Pumpkin and apple pies are popular choices, however, I sometimes enjoy serving desserts that are a bit different yet still seasonally appropriate.  Pears, apples, pumpkin, nuts and cranberries are abundant at markets right now so it’s the perfect time to incorporate them into your menu.

Here are a few suggestions for a delicious finish to the Thanksgiving feast:

Pumpkin Pie with Maple-Walnut Praline – This impressive looking dessert is easy to make.  If you don’t feel like fussing with the praline, the filling makes a delicious basic pumpkin pie.

Apple Pie – A classic.  Be sure to serve it warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Apple-Caramel Tart – An elegant alternative to apple pie.  It’s made with frozen puff pastry, making the preparation quick and easy.

Harvest Strudel – Pears, apples, cranberries, nuts and warming spices make this dessert a nice change from basic pie.

Pear and Pecan Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce – A rich caramel sauce poured over a decadent pear and nut-studded pudding takes this comfort food dish to new levels.

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Tartlets – Raspberry season is over in most areas, however, this recipe works just as well with frozen berries.

Maple-Caramel Custards with Sea Salt – This rich custard showcases the flavour of maple beautifully.  If you can find some colourful maple leaves that have fallen, they make a fun presentation.

Bon Appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!

Get updates from The Seasonal Gourmet on Facebook and Twitter.  Join the conversation today!





Apple-Caramel Tart

2 12 2009

 

Apple-Caramel Tart makes an impressive dessert for special occasions.

 

It’s already December and fall is drawing to a close.  Christmas is only a few weeks away and people are starting to think about their menus for the holidays.  I usually like to serve a couple of options at Christmas, typically an apple pie and maybe another kind of rustic fruit dessert (although last year I admit to serving lemon and chocolate tarts that I purchased).  There is nothing wrong with a basic apple pie but for a special occasion, why not serve something a bit fancier?  An apple-caramel tart looks impressive and tastes delicious.  There are a number of components to the recipe but none are difficult if you take it step by step.  The end result will wow your guests – you may never go back to making regular apple pie again!

Apple-Caramel Tart

The caramel can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge.  Re-heat slightly to soften after refrigeration.

Makes one 10″ tart

  • ½ package of frozen puff pastry, thawed

Caramel:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons whipping cream 

Apple Spice Layer:

  • 5 medium sized apples, such as McIntosh
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup flour

Glaze:

  • 2 Tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roll puff pastry out to fit a 10″ tart pan. Place pastry in pan and crimp edges. Place the pan in the fridge until ready to use.

To make caramel:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water and heat on medium-high, whisking until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Heat mixture until it begins to turn medium brown, about 10 minutes. Swirl pan to stir mixture and watch very carefully as it can burn in seconds.
  3. Once the sugar mixture reaches the desired colour, remove immediately from the heat and add the butter, salt and whipping cream. Whisk together until combined.
  4. Caramel can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to use. It will get quite thick upon cooling so re-heat it before using.

Preparing the apples:

  1. Peel and core apples with an apple corer. Cut each apple in half lengthwise through the middle. Place the halves on a cutting board with the flat sides facing down. Cut into slices about 1/8″ thick.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss apple slices with cinnamon, sugar and flour until evenly coated with spice mixture. Assemble tart immediately (do not prepare apples in advance or they will turn brown).

To Assemble Tart:

  1. Spread caramel in an even layer on the uncooked puff pastry.
  2. Arrange apple slices in a spiral pattern around the tart, overlapping the slices slightly. Make sure the entire tart is covered with apple slices (see photo).
  3. Bake tart for about 50 minutes or until the pastry is beginning to brown around the edges. Remove tart from oven.
  4. Mix apricot jam with butter and heat in a saucepan or the microwave until melted and bubbling. Using a pastry brush, carefully brush apple slices with apricot mixture and return to the oven for another 7 to 10 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the pastry is browned along the edges.
  5. Slice and serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This recipe first appeared on Suite 101.com





Maple-Caramel Custards with Sea Salt

10 11 2009

 

Maple-Caramel Custard with Sea Salt, plated on a maple leaf.

Like most people, I love chocolate desserts.  However, sometimes I’m craving something a little different and caramel fits the bill perfectly,  Maple syrup goes well with the caramel, making the flavour even deeper and richer. A sprinkling of sea salt to finish adds a bit of crunch and further enhances the caramel.  It sounds a little strange but trust me, it’s good!

I have been intimidated by custard in the past, after a bad experience with hollandaise sauce that turned into a clumpy, scrambled egg mess.  However, if you take your time and follow the instructions carefully, you shouldn’t have any problems. The key is to add the hot cream slowly to the egg yolks, whisk constantly and strain the final custard to get rid of any stray lumps.  Cooking the custards in a water bath will ensure they don’t scorch in the oven.

To plate the desserts: If you’re in the north and happen to live anywhere near trees, there are probably a million leaves on the ground right now. Maple leaves have a beautiful shape and colour so I collected a few from my yard to dress up the plate a bit when serving the custards. They’re thematically appropriate and cost nothing so you can’t go wrong!

Maple-Caramel Custards with Sea Salt

This dessert has two complicated sounding components – making the caramel and preparing the custard.  However, it’s not difficult if you take it step-by-step. Placing a dishtowel at the bottom of the water bath will keep the ramekins from slipping around and spilling on their way in and out of the oven.

Makes 6 desserts

For the Custard:

  • 5 large egg yolks (save the whites for another use)
  • 2 Tablespoons golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of regular salt (kosher or table salt)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk

For the Caramel:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, preferably #1 Medium (I use Ontario or Quebec syrup)

To Cook and Finish the Custards:

  • 6 small ramekin dishes (about 3″ to 4″  in diameter)
  • A dish towel
  • A pitcher of water
  • A roasting pan with high sides that can accommodate 6 small ramekins
  • Sea salt
  • Large maples leaves, to dress the plate (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, add egg yolks, brown sugar, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Whisk together until smooth.  Set aside.
  3. To make the caramel: In a large saucepan, add 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup water.  Heat on medium-high.  The sugar will dissolve and the mixture will begin to bubble within a couple of minutes.  Occasionally lift the pot off the burner and carefully swirl the mixture but do not stir it with a spoon.
  4. Cook sugar mixture until it begins to brown- about 7 to 8 minutes. Once it starts to turn golden it will darken VERY quickly so do not leave it unattended! Continue cooking for another minute or two, until the caramel is about the same colour as the maple syrup (a medium-dark amber colour) and remove the pot from the burner.
  5. Carefully add the butter and maple syrup.  It will bubble up a bit as the ingredients are added so use caution.  Stir mixture and return to the burner on medium-low heat.
  6. Slowly whisk the whipping cream and milk into the caramel.  Remove the caramel mixture from the heat and let cool slightly for about 1 minute.
  7. Very slowly pour the caramel/cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly (you may want to have someone help pour the caramel if the pot is heavy).
  8. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup or other heat-proof vessel that you can easily pour from (such as a pitcher).
  9. Prepare the ramekins: In the bottom of a large roasting pan, place a folded dishtowel and smooth it out so the ramekins can sit evenly.  Place the ramekins on the dishtowel and fill each one with the custard mixture.
  10. Use a large pitcher to carefully pour water into the roasting pan, being careful not to get water in the custards.  Fill about 2/3 of the way up the outside of the ramekins.  Make sure the dishtowel is completely submerged in the water so it doesn’t burn in the oven.
  11. Bake the custards for 45 to 50 minutes or until they are set in the middle.  Let cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Sprinkle with sea salt just before serving or place a small dish of salt on the table so diners can add their own. Garnish the plates with maple leaves for a fun presentation if desired.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!