Warm and sweet and topped with a generous dollop of creamy ice cream, this maple syrup pie is perfect any time of the year. But just imagine how wonderful it would taste early in spring when nights are cold and days are turning warmer. When sap freely runs down the trunks of bare maple trees. A race before their buds emerge. The image is always on our minds during maple sugaring season. So is the smell when the comforting scent of maple sugar permeates the air around our favorite sugarhouse. No time is wasted getting each new season's fresh batch of liquid gold to our table.
Even though I'm a little late in the season to post my visit to Fadden's Sugarhouse, I want to share my experience anyway. We met Jim Fadden three years ago at his General Store and we absolutely love the Fadden family's award-winning maple syrup. They've been making maple syrup the old-fashioned way since the mid-1800s and upgraded in the mid-1900s for commercial production. It wasn't until this year, in late March, that I finally visited the Sugarhouse. I missed the maplefest but, lucky me, I got a private tour! The tour wasn't planned so I only had my blackberry to take photos with, but they came out pretty good.
|This galvanized bucket is used as an indicator only. |
It shows that sap wasn't running on the day of my visit because it was too cold.
Galvanized buckets are no longer used here to harvest sap.
|A slice of wood from a fallen tree shows tap holes.|
The dark tap hole, lower left, shows how the tree sealed itself.
|This sophisticated system removes water from the sap|
making boiling more efficient
|The grade scale|
|Early season and late season syrup. |
The late season syrup is sold to companies
as a flavoring.
|The filtering system|
|State-of-the-art food-grade stainless steel evaporator|
|My tasting sample right out of the evaporator put a big smile on my face!|
|The drive to the maple trees|
|Currently 7,000 trees are tapped|
|The Norman Rockwell inspired window display|
at Fadden's General Store and Sugarhouse,
North Woodstock, NH
Jim Fadden painting his self-portrait.
He always has various creative displays throughout the year.
(Photo courtesy of Jim Fadden)
|Pattie Noel and Nola Clark, daughter of Murray Clark|
(Clark's Trading Post),
designed the window display at Fadden's General Store
(Photo courtesy of Jim Fadden)
Maple Syrup Pie Recipe
From Vermont Life magazine and created by Lara Atkins, pastry chef and co-owner of The Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond, VT
1 9 inch pie crust, pre-baked
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp fine salt
1 1/2 cups maple syrup, grade B is suggested
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
For this recipe, I used a 10 inch non-stick tart pan with a removable bottom and a pre-made pie crust. I'm sorry! I promise that one day I will make my own! I just happened to have one in the freezer and wanted to save time.
Start by pre-baking the pie crust in a pre-heated 300 degree oven. While it cooks, whisk flour and salt together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, beat eggs. Over medium heat, bring maple syrup and cream up to a boil. Boil for about 20 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in butter pieces until they completely melt.
Make a slurry by adding a few tablespoons of the warm maple-cream mixture to the flour and salt. When combined, pour in the remaining maple-cream mixture and whisk until combined.
Before adding eggs, temper them by adding a little of the maple-cream mixture into the beaten eggs. Whisk and when they feel about room temperature, pour beaten eggs into maple-cream mixture and whisk to combine.
Pour the maple-cream filling into the warm pre-baked pie crust. Bake about 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and the center is set. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of your favorite ice cream, whipped cream or creme fraiche. I used Creme Caramel ice cream.