Susan Brooks shares two of her favourite recipes featuring the sweet sap from her sugar shack.
Bacon, Maple and Cheddar Shortbread
4-5 slices of bacon chopped
1/2 cup (125ml) butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (75 ml) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup
2 cups (500ml) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2ml) baking powder
1/2 cup (125ml) grated extra old cheddar cheese
1. Using a non-stick skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy; reserve the fat and remove the bacon to drain over paper towels. Pour the bacon fat into a bowl to cool and the chop the bacon finely.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, maple syrup and the cooled fat until smooth and creamy. Stir in the chopped bacon.
3. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Stir in the cheese.
4. Gradually stir flour mixture into the butter mixture until the dough comes together. Knead the dough until it becomes firm and roll into a 2-inch log. At this point you can refrigerate for up to five days or freeze for up to two weeks.
5. Pre-heat oven to 325F (160C)
6. Slice into 1/2-inch slices and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Repeat with remaining dough.
Sage, Apple and Maple Glazed Rack of Wild Boar
Yield: Serves six
Rack of wild boar
French shallots (5 or 6 heads)
Mirpoix made of chopped onion, carrots and celery
1/4 (60ml) cup white sugar
2 apples peeled and diced
2 tbs (10ml) butter
2 oz (60ml) maple syrup
2 oz (60ml) cognac or brandy
1/4 cup (60ml) semi-dry white wine
1 cup (240ml) beef stock
Prepare the ribs
1. Score the ribs crosswise and season with pepper on both sides.
2. Rub both sides with fresh sage.
3. Prepare pan with your mirepoix and rest of the sage.
4. Sear the meat in a pan at medium high on each side until golden brown, about two minutes each side.
5. Remove the meat and the excess oil, cover and allow the meat to rest.
Prepare the Glaze
1. Place butter, shallots and sugar in a pan on medium high heat. Caramelize to the colour of hazelnuts (light brown).
2. Flambé with the cognac by lighting the pan with a match to burn off excess alcohol.
3. Add the white wine to the pan and reduce the liquid by half.
4. Add the maple syrup and beef stock.
5. Add the chopped apples. You must add the apples last so that they retain their crunch. You don’t want to end up with apple sauce. This makes a fairly large quantity because you will baste your wild boar 10 to 15 times.
6. Bring the sauce to a boil for a few seconds and then remove from heat.
7. Put the sauce in a bowl and with a culinary brush baste the meat.
1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C)
2. Put a meat thermometer into the thickest section of the boar.
3. Cook the meat for five to six minutes, remove and baste. Do this every five to six minutes.
4. Cook until 158F (70C) for a medium-well done (about an hour).
5. Remove and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
6. Finish off with another drizzle of the apple glaze mixture.
7. Serve with assorted vegetables, mashed potatoes and/or butternut squash.