This time of year can get complicated. The weather is usually a sloppy and temperamental mess, and our spirits usually match it. It’s hard to get enthused about anything too involved or challenging. In fact, now is the time to revert to the basics—simple food that comforts the palate while still piquing the senses; the kind of things we ate as children, only updated for our adult sensibilities. And so, with this in mind, we can’t recommend highly enough the latest book from Short Stack Editions, an imprint which releases beautifully bound cookbooks inspired by and centered around one ingredient. The latest volume is titled Maple Syrup and is written by Casey Elsass—founder of condiment company Bushwick Kitchen, which is behind beloved products like Bees Knees Spicy Honey and Trees Knees Spicy Syrup. For Elsass, maple syrup isn’t just an ingredient—it’s part of the culture in which he was raised. Thus, the slim book is filled with recipes referencing his New England childhood, only these feature some unexpected additions (think: maple-and-miso chicken wings), once and for all freeing maple syrup from its breakfast food partnership. And while we definitely think everyone should try out a maple syrup-accented cocktail when hiding out at home from March’s blustery weather, we know that we’ll be returning again and again to this easy but elegant maple pudding, which is comfort food at its finest.
Maple Pudding with Pickled Cherries and Pistachios
Adapted from Maple Syrup by Casey Elsass
For the pudding
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese, softened
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup, divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
For the cherries
- ½ pound fresh cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
Make the pudding: In a saucepan, mix together the milk, mascarpone, ½ cup of maple syrup, salt, and cornstarch until well combined. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, for ten to twelve minutes. As soon as you see bubbles popping up over the surface, remove the pan from the heat. Scrape the pudding into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure to press the plastic directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least four hours.
Make the cherries: Put the cherries, thyme, and coriander in a pint or quart jar. In a saucepan, whisk the vinegar, syrup, and salt with ½ cup of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour the liquid over the cherries so they’re submerged, and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Cover the jar tightly and refrigerate for at least two hours.
To serve: Remove the pudding from the refrigerator and stir in the remaining maple syrup to loosen it. Divide the pudding into four bowls. Scoop out half the cherry mixture and strain (the rest can be refrigerated for up to two weeks). Soon the cherries along one side of each bowl. Sprinkle with pistachios, and serve.