Recipes: Maple-Pear Bread Pudding, Maple Crème Brulee and Maple Spice Cake

Jody Feinberg

It’ a banner-sap season, so we hit up local chefs for ideas for desserts made with maple syrup. Bringing big flavor, maple syrup adds sweet and unexpected twists to desserts. Here are three recipes to try:

Maple-Pear Bread Pudding

  • 6 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 loaf challah bread, broken into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups maple syrup
  • 2 ripe but firm pears, sliced or cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons apple pie spice or 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons nutmeg and 1 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs, milk, syrup and spices until combined. Add pears. Fold in bread until coated. Pour into buttered pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until it “sets.” It should be somewhat jiggly, but not soupy.

– Recipe from Emily Carreiro, naturalist, South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell, Mass.

Maple Crème Brulee

  • 1/4 cup grade A or grade B maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

1. Set out six 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins. Add 1 cup of maple syrup to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 5 minutes or until it reduces by half. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of reduced maple syrup into reach ramekin. Allow to cool; the syrup will thicken.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Fill a teakettle with about one quart water and bring to a boil for the water bath (bain-marie). Combine the eggs, egg yolks, milk, sugar, brown sugar and the rest of the maple syrup (1/4 cup). Mix well so that the sugar dissolves completely.

3. Spoon about 2/3 cup of custard into each ramekin. Place the ramekins in a baking pan and fill with enough boiling water to come about halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until set. Check to see if the custard is done by inserting a toothpick into the center; it should come out clean.

4. Chill thoroughly. Loosen the custard with a small knife and transfer to a dessert plate. Pour on any sauce remaining at the bottom of the cup.

– Recipe from Summer Shack Restaurant in Cambridge, Mass.

Maple Spice Cake with Maple-Thai Bird Cream

  • 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon maple syrup, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Thai bird chili
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan by greasing, lining the bottom with parchment and greasing again.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Once combined, add vanilla, and mix until just incorporated.

In a medium bowl, sift together the salt, cake flour and baking soda. With mixer running, add half the dry ingredients, then half the sour cream. Alternate adding both until fully incorporated.

Pour cake batter into cake pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, with a few crumbs attached. Let cool on a rack, then remove cake from pan.

While cake is cooling, whip cream in a stand mixer with whip attachment until soft peaks form. Add Thai bird chili and 3 tablespoons maple syrup and continue to whip until just incorporated. To serve, cut cake into wedges and top with dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 4.

– Recipe from Blue Ginger restaurant, Wellesley, Mass.