As you might know, the Places We Go team recently returned from a very special trip across Western Canada. It was the kind of adventure that you just want to desperately hold onto once home – keeping those memories of Lake Louise, and the black bears along the shore of Blue River, alive and close to your heart.
Some of the ways you can keep recent travels close to you is by bringing home some of it’s tastes. And in Canada, nothing is more iconic than maple syrup!
Everywhere you travel in Canada, you can get your hands on pure Canadian maple syrup and all of it’s offshoots – maple cookies, candy, and even maple-cured salmon! One of our favourite places to buy it all was at Granville Markets in Vancouver, and never will you find more passionate vendors!
I actually didn’t know a lot about maple syrup prior, but while I was in Canada I spoke to a few people and learnt a little bit about how it is sourced. Maple trees store starch in their trunks and roots in the lead up to winter, before converting the starch to sugar that is later extracted in Spring in the form of sap. The sap is then heated to remove excess water, leaving behind a lovely concentrated syrup, perfect for pancakes!
It’s a really nice ingredient to cook with and I found it to be a perfect (and rather easy) substitute when making one of my favourite desserts – a tarte tatin. Better yet, you don’t have to go all the way to Canada to buy the good stuff – 100% pure Canadian maple syrup can be found at most good grocery stores here in Australia. However, if you feel like popping over to buy it locally, we don’t blame you!
So, here’s my Canadian take on a French classic….
- 4-5 pears, peeled, halved and cored
- ½ cup of pure Canadian maple syrup
- 60 grams of unsalted butter
- 3 x star anise
- 1 x cinnamon stick
- 2 x sheets of store-bought puff pastry
- 1 x tsp ground cinnamon
- Thickened cream
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
- Locate an oven proof fry pan approximately 28cm in size (can be smaller if needed)
- Press pastry sheets together, place the fry pan you intend to use upside down on the pastry and trace a circle using a knife. This is to ensure the pastry fits the diameter of the pan
- Melt butter over medium heat, add maple syrup, star anise and cinnamon stick
- Once it begins to bubble, place pear halves (cut side up) into the base of the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes. Baste pears in syrup occasionally. I sliced off the rounded back of the pear so it would sit more comfortably in the pan
- Place pastry over the pear in the pan, tucking in the edges
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes
- Using a knife gently run around the edge of the pan, loosening the pastry
- Now here comes the tricky bit! Using a service platter slightly bigger than the circumference of the pan, place the platter over the top of the pastry and using a tea towel (so you don’t burn your self) grip both the pan and platter, fasten together and flip the pastry over
- Slice at the table, served with a large dollop of cream and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon