Looking for a more contemporary way to use maple syrup? Here are a couple of recipes from another maple syrup state, Minnesota.
In her fourth cookbook, “Modern Maple” (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $19.95), Teresa Marrone shares 75 recipes that use maple syrup in both traditional and contemporary ways. In addition to the two recipes below, Marrone’s book includes dishes such as pecan-crusted chicken with maple apples, roasted carrot-ginger soup with maple, and maple baklava.
GRILLED RADICCHIO WITH MAPLE DRIZZLE AND GOAT CHEESE
Grilling mellows the bitterness characteristic of radicchio, a red-hued member of the endive family. The maple drizzle further sweetens the dish; creamy goat cheese adds wonderful flavor and texture.
2 small heads radicchio (about 10 ounces each)
2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Olive oil as needed (about 1/4 cup)
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese (about 11/2 ounces)
FOR MAPLE DRIZZLE:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
Prepare grill for direct medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine maple drizzle ingredients and stir briskly with a fork. Set aside to allow flavors to combine while you prepare the radicchio.
Remove any leaves from the radicchio that look like they’re about to fall off (save for use in salads). Cut each head of radicchio lengthwise into 4 wedge-shaped quarters; the cores should hold the radicchio together. Arrange in a single layer, cut sides up, on a plate or glass baking dish. Sprinkle vinegar evenly over the cut sides; set aside to marinate for 5 to 10 minutes. While radicchio is marinating, toast pine nuts over medium heat in a small cast-iron or other heavy skillet until just beginning to brown in spots, stirring frequently; total cooking time will be 2 to 5 minutes. As soon as nuts have started to brown, transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
When you’re ready to grill, lightly brush radicchio on all sides with oil. Place radicchio on grill grate with a cut side down. Cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the quarters so the other cut side is down and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, then turn and cook the outsides of the quarters for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter with the cut sides up. Drizzle evenly with the maple mixture. Sprinkle goat cheese and toasted pine nuts over the radicchio. Serve immediately or let cool slightly and serve warm.
CARDAMOM-MAPLE SWIRL BREAD
Like many spices, cardamom loses its pungency fairly quickly after it’s ground. Since the cardamom’s kick is an important part of this bread, it’s worth it to grind the cardamom just before you need it. Buy whole white cardamom pods at a large supermarket or from Penzeys; you’ll need about 25 pods for this recipe. Split the pod with your thumbnail and pull out the seeds; use the tip of a knife to pick them out if they are stuck. Grind the seeds as evenly as possible with a mortar and pestle; I usually sift the ground cardamom through a fine wire-mesh strainer to separate out any larger pieces, then grind those some more until they will pass through the strainer. Makes one loaf.
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Approximately 2/3 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2½ cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
1½ teaspoons quick-rise yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (see head note)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons half-and-half or whole milk
Prepare the dough in a standard-capacity bread machine (or prepare it by hand, following the standard procedure for yeast breads). Add syrup to 2-cup measure, then add buttermilk to equal ¾ cup. In a small bowl, beat eggs with a fork until very well blended but not foamy. Add enough of the beaten egg to the maple mixture to equal 1 cup, then add 2 more tablespoons of the egg to the syrup mixture (you will be using a total of ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the egg in the dough). Cover and refrigerate remaining beaten egg; you’ll use it to brush on top of the bread before baking it. Add maple mixture and all remaining dough ingredients to bread machine according to instructions for your machine. (Some have special yeast dispensers and require the liquids to be added last, on top of the flour; others require the liquid to be added first so it is at the bottom of the mixing pan, with the yeast on top of the flour.) Run the white dough cycle so the dough is kneaded and proofed; watch the dough in the first few minutes of kneading, and add a little more buttermilk or flour if the dough appears too dry or too wet.
About 45 minutes before the end of the dough cycle (or first rising, if making dough by hand), prepare the cardamom-maple filling. Place syrup in a heavy-bottomed small saucepan. Cook over medium heat without stirring until the surface is covered with foaming bubbles, then adjust heat so mixture continues to bubble but does not boil over, and cook without stirring until mixture reaches 24 degrees above boiling on a tested quick-read thermometer (236 degrees if your thermometer measures boiling water at 212 degrees); this will probably take 2 1/2 to 3 minutes from the time the mixture starts boiling. Remove from heat and add butter; stir constantly until butter melts and mixture is smooth, about a minute longer. Stir in cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally; the mixture needs to be spreadable – no longer fluid but not hard – when you use it. If it is still looking like fluid when you turn the risen bread out to begin working with it, refrigerate the butter mixture for a few minutes to firm it up slightly.
When dough cycle is complete (or, if making dough by hand, when it has risen once and been punched down), turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times. Pat into a rough rectangle about an inch thick, then cover loosely with a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes. Coat a 9- by-5-inch loaf pan generously with cooking spray and set aside.
Uncover the dough and roll it into a rectangle that is about 8½ by 17 inches. Spread cardamom-maple filling evenly over the dough, keeping about an inch of one short end clear of filling. Starting with the other short edge, roll firmly into a log. Pinch the edge together very well to seal and pat the ends in slightly if necessary so the log is about the same width as the loaf pan. Place dough, seam-side down, in prepared loaf pan. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until roughly doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes; if you press your fingertip gently into the dough, the dent will spring back just slightly when the dough is properly risen.
Near the end of the rising time, arrange two oven racks in the bottom of the oven and remove any racks above them; place a square of foil in the middle of the bottom rack to catch any drips. Heat to 350 degrees for a glass loaf pan or 375 degrees for a metal loaf pan. When dough is properly risen, add half-and-half to reserved egg and beat with a fork; brush over risen dough, discarding any excess. Place loaf pan in center of oven on top rack, above the foil. Bake until the center of the loaf reads 200 to 205 degrees on a quick-read thermometer, 30 to 40 minutes; loaf will be richly browned. Place the loaf pan on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a table knife and turn the loaf out onto a wire rack; let cool completely before slicing.
Recipes reprinted with permission from “Modern Maple” by Teresa Marrone, published by Minnesota Historical Society Press (www.mhspress.org).