My husband’s grandparents are from New England and spent a lot of time in the maritime provinces of Canada, home to the most wonderful maple syrup. Though I never met Grandma in person, I felt connected to her through stories, so lovingly told. She was a wonderful cook who skillfully used local ingredients in her recipes. She’d visit my husband as a child, boiling live lobsters in their tiny kitchen, delighting some and terrifying others. I wish I could have tasted her dishes first hand, memorizing their flavors and smells. This year our family cruise was diverted to the Canadian coastline in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. In our hearts, we knew it was meant to be, to visit the place those loving grandparents had been. It was there, on mountain ridge in the middle of New Brunswick, that I fell for that pure maple syrup that tasted like sugar and earth. In a lodge, on a grass-roots Maple Syrup Farm, we poured the sweet amber liquid over ginger spiced pancakes and sausages. We should have felt small there, but instead felt connected to a legacy. The flavors of this memorable meal inspired this pie, now a treasured family favorite.
8 ounces ginger snap cookies 1/4 C melted butter 1 29 ounce can pure pumpkin puree 1 pint half and half 3 extra large eggs, gently beaten 1 Cup dark brown sugar 1/2 Cup pure maple syrup, divided 1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt 1/2 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice 1 Cup heavy whipping cream 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon Methods: 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Place the ginger snaps into a food processor and process into fine crumbs. Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and press the mixture into a 13 X 9 inch jelly roll pan. 3. Par bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, then allow it to cool slightly. 4. In a large saucepot, pour in the half and half, beaten eggs, brown sugar, 1/4 Cup of the maple syrup, the salt, and the pumpkin pie spice. Whisk the mixture over medium heat, just until it's warmed through and the ingredients are homogenous. The mixture should just be warm, not hot. 5. Pour the pie filling into the cooled crust and smooth it out evenly. Bake the pie for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven to cool completely. 6. Pour the whipped cream into a stand mixer. Whip on high until stiff peaks form, then slowly add the remaining maple syrup. Whip just until combined. 7. Slice the cooled pie into 12 squares and top with the maple whipped cream. Dust with a little cinnamon right before serving.