Wisconsin Maple Syrup month. However, I hope to make up for it by sharing our latest exciting experiment -- maple syrup & pancakes custard.
When I was a young girl, I always looked forward to Easter. Every year my cousins and I would spend our "spring break" with my grandparents, who lived about an hour north of the city. The week was always filled with the usual adolescent high jinks -- traipsing through the woods, wading our bare toes in too-cold marsh water that was left behind by the rapidly melting snow, and playing lots and lots of Canasta (a card game I learned early and played often throughout my childhood).
My grandmother was never what I would call a "gourmet" cook. So, meal time was always an adventure. Some things, like the casserole made from hamburger meat and cream of mushroom soup, weren't anything to write home about. But, the week did have its highlights. At breakfast, we'd indulge in fantastic slices of perfectly toasted wheat bread (I am still convinced that vintage toaster made the best toast EVER) mounded with crunchy peanut butter. Post-breakfast, during moments when Grandma wasn't paying attention, we'd also sneak spoons full of that peanut butter and stuff them into our eager little mouths -- and then hope that she didn't ask us any questions while we were trying to swallow that sticky mess (do you remember that old classic song, Peanut Butter, by the Marathons? yeah -- kinda like that). At lunch, we feasted on good old-fashioned hard rolls spread generously with butter and topped with garlicky cured summer sausage.
But, one of my favorite indulgences came after dinner time when Grandpa would spoon up heaping bowls of vanilla ice cream, which were promptly drizzled with maple syrup.
Interestingly enough, the good people at Kopp's Frozen Custard here in Milwaukee must have grown up with grandparents who were similarly inspired. Because recently, they decided to roll out a new custard flavor called "Maple Syrup and Pancakes". What could be better? Even Peef was swooning wth delight.
But, why should we have to wait for Kopp's to make up another batch (the next time it appears on the Flavor Forecast is on April 25th -- a whole month away!)? We could make it for ourselves, right?
Of course, we'd need to differentiate our version somehow. So, rather than just tossing a bunch of chopped up pancakes in our custard, we decided to take the whole game one step further. We'd make cute little baby pancakes to throw into our custard.
Aren't they totally super cute? Why are little binky things always so gosh-darned adorable?
Once we had the pancakes in hand, we mixed up a batch of maple syrup custard (many thanks to David Lebovitz for his constant guidance in our quest for delicious ice cream).
The churned custard was deliciously creamy -- and Very Mapley. "Just perfect," Peef declared upon a first tasting. And so we mixed all those delicious little pancakes into the custard, and threw everything into the deep freeze.
Despite all the hype (and hope), I think it's back to the drawing board with this one. Maybe I can sweet talk those folks over at Kopp's into telling me their secret for keeping the pancakes soft. In the meantime, if you have any crazy ideas, you let me know! Peef has already requested that we put a little bit of bacon in the next batch.
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