Today, Sunday, I made paska (shown here with some pysanky the kids and I decorated a few years ago) I am half Ukrainian and we always had paska, a traditional rich buttery egg bread at Easter time although I don't honestly remember anyone making it; ours was always from the bakery.
Since I am the first baker in the family in a long while, I thought it was only fitting that I start making it. The recipe was from Edible Toronto magasine and the accompanying article was my inspiration. The paska in the magasine is made in a rectangular loaf pan but I remembered our bread as always being round, so that's how I made it. If you have a moment and are so inclined I think you will enjoy the lovely article about keeping family traditions going.
The sap has stopped running for this year and now we are left with one of my favourite sweets, maple syrup.
I always make one maple treat to celebrate when the new supply of syrup hits the shelves.
It's too early to rejoice in any local harvest other than some hothouse greens so it is nice to have something from nature while the garden starts waking up.
For pancakes and waffles I like No.1 light or grade A but for cooking the best is the darker, amber syrup. It imparts a more potent maple flavour and the added bonus is that it is a little cheaper - no sense selling your first born for pie. I am lucky in that, living rurally and working in a gourmet food shop, I have easy access to all fresh, local farm produce right from the farmer, maple syrup included, without ever stepping into a grocery store.
Maple Syrup Pie has been likened to pecan pie without the pecans or a very large butter tart but really it is it's own entity. I chose the recipe below. Some used a much larger quantity of maple syrup but since I was experimenting I thought I'd play it safer with the smaller amount. You can use walnuts or pecans or go au naturel. Like it's aforementioned cousins, it IS sweet, so some unsweetened whipped cream on the side is a nice accompaniment.
I almost tinkered and made this into squares, substituting the pie crust for a firm cooked shortbread base with the same filling over top. I think I might even prefer to go that way next time.
Maple Syrup Pie
Your favourite pie pastry
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 C heavy cream
!/3 C maple syrup, dark or amber
2 tBsps unsalted butter, melted
1/2 C coarsely chopped nuts (opt)
Roll out your pastry and place into a 8" deep dish pie plate. It is a shallow pie but it will puff dramatically in the oven while cooking and you will want the pastry to be high enough to accommodate this. I made a braided edge that nearly got engulfed by the filling before it sunk down again.
Blind bake the crust with pie weights at 400'F for 6-8 minutes. Turn down the oven to 325'F.
Whisk together the brown sugar and eggs until creamy.
Add the cream, butter and maple syrup and whisk until smooth.
Pour into the par-baked crust and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the nuts over top and continue baking until filling is puffed and looks dry but still trembles (like custard). This can take up to 50-60 minutes total. Do not over bake or the syrup will turn sugary.
Let cool on wire rack. It will completely set as it cools.
I'm home sick today, day 4 of a nasty, nasty virus that my darling daughter decided to share with me, so I thought I may as well update the blog between naps, sniffling, coughing and doses of elderberry tincture.
Well, where were we?
Since we last spoke the weather has been glorious and nasty about three or four times, in alternating sequence. I'm only illustrating this phenomenon so that when you hear that Canadians talk a lot about the weather well, THIS IS WHY:
I spent part of one enjoyable day cleaning up the garden in just my sweater, soaking up the sun... and then the next day, this:
And then the next day, this:
It was so warm and humid that you could see the snow evaporate.
Then on the weekend, we actually barbecued and ate out in The Porch. Heaven.
So while this was schizophrenic weather that we call spring was happening outside, inside I was planting seeds and knitting socks (seeds for the optimistic warm days, socks for the cold ones) I'll skip the dirt photos and go right to:
Mum's birthday socks. Called ' Cabled Sweat socks" in Socks, A Spin Off Special Publication for Knitters and Spinners and my only actual sock book because really there are so many sock patterns floating around on the WWW I can't count my bookmarks.
I have made thes once before
in very different yarn, Koigu Painter's Palette for a sock swap in 2004. Goodness, I've been at this for a while. The new pair was made in the much revered "old' Kroy, picked up ages ago at a thrift store. It is deliciously soft but also a bit splitty so I'm not so sure what all the fuss is about. I finished these just under the wire for the birthday party, with fifteen minutes to spare.
Man Socks. In suitable man-approved colours. These are worsted weight, based on the pattern here. I had bought this yarn for a Boy Hat, only to learn the weight was entirely wrong and I had run out of time just before Christmas. It was then earmarked for slippers right up until the cast-on, when I changed my mind. My husband has chronically cold feet and I took pity on him. These babies are warm.
Lastly, for me:
I must admit to scrambling around last minute for the ball band for these. I love this yarn. So soft, so warm, so nice and stretchy. It is possibly the best sock yarn I have ever knit with and enjoyed wearing. I used a generic pattern for these and I confess I found the first sock half-knit when searching through the Breeding Box o' Yarn.
And that concludes the sock parade for the foreseeable future. The sock muse only strikes randomly around here and this was a hefty dose. It worked better than my cold medication. That said, I think it's time for a little lay down.
I'm going to bake you a wonderful seasonal treat for next time.
And hey, another random shot of the stripy blanket.