Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras) usually occurs at least a month or more before the maple sap starts running on the east coast of Canada.
This is a problem.
During sugar season, we head to nearby Ripley’s Sugar Camp for our yearly supply of maple syrup. It’s an annual ritual that involves stopping for fresh maple taffy along the way. We haul 2 gallons (about 8 liters) back home, and swear that this year we’ll make it last.
It never does.
Of course we could just add it to the shopping list and pick up a bottle at the grocery store, but 1) I’m too cheap (it’s four times the price) and 2) I have it in my head that limiting ourselves to 2 gallons is some kind of discipline. (I’m not really sure it is.)
So – what to do with pancakes?
This Apple Caramel Pancake Syrup is just the thing. There is nothing virtuous about it: there’s butter and sugar and cream, but it’s bright and celebratory and I think that’s what Pancake Day is about.
There’s a touch of cornstarch to give it a bit of thickness, but if you are opposed to that just leave it out.
You can make this in advance and store it in the fridge, but it’s best served warm. It will get very thick as it cools, and the butter may separate a bit. Store it in a jar, then reheat in the microwave or in a pan of hot water and shake or stir before serving.
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml butter see note
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml vanilla
- 1 cup / 250 ml apple juice or cider
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml cold water
Place butter and brown sugar in small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted.
Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened slightly and is a deeper brown color.
Add the vanilla and stir until mixed.
Stir in the apple juice or cider and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavour.
Add the whipping cream and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute.
Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl, then add to the syrup pot.
Bring mixture back to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
Remove pan from heat.
If not using immediately, let it cool then store in a jar in the fridge for up to one week. It will thicken and solidify as it cools, but will thin out when it is reheated. Stir or shake after reheating.
I use salted butter in this recipe. If you are using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt when you are melting the butter and brown sugar.