It's maple syrup season.
Cold nights and above freezing days mean sugar shacks are in full boil. And for those of us luck enough to know someone with a sugar bush, visions of golden, mapley goodness dance in our heads...and our palates.
I'll pour it on sweet fritters, warm corn bread, ice cream and yes...pancakes.
Unlike "table syrup" in all its cloying viscosity, I'll use it as a more subtle sweetener--one that lends a deep smoky sweetness to whatever I use it in.
Normally when I make a crisp, sugar abounds: the apples are tossed in it, the topping has one or two types and usually the dessert is served with a dollop of sweetened cream, a generous spoon of custard or a healthy scoop of ice cream. This time I wanted the Granny Smith's tartness to shine through and be more of a feature against the sweetened accompaniment.
I'm fairly happy with the results--the apples are tart with a hint of maple. I like how the crisp nubbly topping contrasts against the softened apples and melting rivulets of ice cream. I will play with it some more--the topping could do with some playing -- maybe plump up the fruit before baking and maybe use a mixture of both whole wheat and ap flours...but for now, here's my maple-berry apple crisp.
Maple-Berry Apple Crisp
For the topping
70g (5Tbsp) butter, softened
65g (0.33c) brown sugar
40g (0.25c) dried cranberries, finely chopped
40g (0.25c) dried blueberries, chopped
40g (0.33c) chopped walnuts, toasted
55g (0.5c) rolled oats
75g (0.5c) whole wheat flour
finely minced zest of one orange
pinch of salt
For the apples
juice of one orange
180ml (0.75c) maple syrup
pinch of salt
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3mm (1/8") slices
Preheat oven to 190C/375F. Butter a 23cm x 33cm (9"x13") pan.
Mix the topping ingredients together, until crumbly and set aside.
Mix the juice, syrup and salt together. Tumble the sliced apples into the buttered pan and por the syrup mixture over top. Strew the topping over the apples.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the apples yield to the point of a sharp knife.
Let cool a bit before serving. Serve with custard, ice cream or cream sweetened with maple syrup.