Flan au sirop d’erable / Maple flan

maple syrupA couple of weeks ago we caravanned to Montreal with a group of friends.  We were on our way to Martin Picard’s  La Cabane a sucre du Pied de Cochon.  Cabane a sucre / maple shack is a big Quebecois tradition.  We are proud of our maple syrup and no other one will do! Chef Picard has Le Pied de Cochon restaurant in Montreal and la Cabane outside of the city.  I had made the reservations back in December crossing my fingers we would get in and found out in February that yes! we did get a table.  The whole experience was worth the wait!cabane a sucre pdc

Growing up in Montreal, the Cabane a sucre was a yearly tradition; one of family times as well as school field trips.  My husband has seen his share of cabanes when we were first married and lived in Montreal, but with my children born and raised in the U.S. it was a real treat to have them experience this food extravaganza for the first time in their lives.

Needless to say when we came back we were on a vegetable-only diet for a while but maple syrup kept being on my mind.  We even ended up smoking our ham for Easter and basting it with a maple glaze, but that is another post.  In the meantime enjoy simple, easy-to-make Maple Flan.flan maple


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoon maple syrup divided
  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.

In a medium size saucepan combine the sugar with 3 tablespoon maple syrup and cook on medium heat until the mixture is thick , bubbly and amber color.  The mixture will be very hot and you will have to work quickly.  Pour into a flan pan : I use a 10 inch round about 1 3/4 inch high pan.  With oven mitts (remember the mixture is very hot!) quickly swirl the mixture to cover the entire surface of the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

It is very important while making the caramel to NOT stir the mixture constantly as it will burn and get hard.  Stir to start and then just let it be.  You want to pour it in the pan when it is all melted and amber.  Be quick as it can go from amber to burnt!

In the same saucepan you used for the caramel, quickly pour the cream and milk and return to the stove and heat up but do not bring to a boil.flan

In the meantime, in a large bowl whisk the eggs, yolks, vanilla and remaining 3 tablespoon of maple syrup.  Slowly pour the hot milk/cream mixture and keep whisking until smooth.

Pour the mixture into the caramel coated pan and set the pan in a large sheet pan or roasting pan.  Pour enough hot water into the pan to come up half way up the sides of the flan pan.  Cover loosely with foil and bake for an hour or until the custard is firm to the touch.

Take the pan out of the water bath and let it cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chill, about 3 hours.

When ready to serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, cover with a large shallow plater ( as you will have a fair amount of syrup coming out of the dish) and quickly invert the flan onto the platter.  Slice onto plates and make sure you spoon lots of of the syrup with each serving!flan

NOTE:  Please! do NOT use fake maple syrup !!! it will ruin the taste , if you do not have maple syrup, use honey: for the caramel part, add 2 tablespoon of sugar to the one cup and for the custard substitute honey for maple syrup.  One more note, I could not go to the Cabane and not have my picture taken with Martin Picard.  Merci  Chef for your generosity and for being such a source of inspiration!!martin picard

Chocolate Truffle Cake

chocolate chunksWhen we think of love the following icons come to mind: flowers, pink, red, Cupid and…. let’s not forget,  Chocolate!  For this Valentine’s day I offer you Chocolate Truffle Cake.  Flour-less, part cake, part truffle, it is the easiest cake ever! The hardest part is to get it out of the pan!  This cake has been part of my go-to dessert repetoire for 20 years and is always a great success, especially with the chocoholics in my life.  It came from the Maida Heatter’s Best Dessert Book Ever and the recipe is said to come from the famous Hotel de Crillon in Paris.   It is so rich it can easily serve 12 to 16 guests.  Served with a soft whipped cream infused with your favorite liqueur it will be the perfect ending for that romantic dinner come Valentine’s day.chocolate cake ingredients


  • 8 ounces best quality bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, each stick cut into four pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.  Prepare an 9 inch round cake pan by buttering the pan liberally and by lining the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit.  Butter the paper and dust with a mixture of 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder.  Set aside.cake pan

In a double boiler melt the chocolate, butter and sugar together over medium heat.  Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth with no trace of grains of sugar  Remove the top pan from the double boiler and off heat beat the eggs one at a time with a whisk making sure the mixture stays smooth.

Transfer the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan.  Place the pan into a sheet pan/jelly roll pan and place in the oven.  Add a couple of inch of hot water to the pan and bake for one hour.melting chocolate

Carefully remove the cake pan from the hot water and let cool completely.  Once cool, loosely cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about 3 hours or overnight .

Now, is the hard part: to remove the cake from the pan, run a very thin knife around the pan to release the edges.  Run some hot water in the bottom of the sink and let the pan stand in for a bit; not too long as the cake will melt.  Cover the pan with a cutting board and turn the pan upside down and bang the pan a few times.  The cake will finally come out.  The cake will be very thin, about 2 inches.  Put back in the fridge without removing the parchment paper until ready to serve.chocolate cake

When ready to serve, peel the paper from the cake.  Do not worry if the cake looks messy and wrinkled, that is when the cocoa powder comes handy.  Transfer the cake to a serving plate or platter and, with a fine mesh sifter, sprinkle the cocoa powder covering the entire surface of the cake.  Let sit 30 to 45 minutes before serving.

Serve with a soft whipped cream sauce

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoon confectioner sugar
  • 2 tablespoon rum , you can also use Grand Marnier, Kahlua or Cognac

In a cold bowl and beaters from an electric beater, beat the heavy cream and sugar until it holds its shape.  You want more of a “sauce” then whipped cream.  Fold in the liqueur of your choice and refrigerate until ready to serve the cake.chocolate cake slices

NOTE:  should you have cake left, you can cut into individual pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze as you would chocolate truffles.  Just bring back to room temperature before eating.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucherroses

Mousse au Chocolat

taza chocolateI grew up in a home where my father was the cook and my mother the resident baker/dessert maker. She is always baking batches upon batches of cookies to replenish the ever-diminishing cookie jars, and is known to “whip up ” a chocolate mousse at a moment’s notice.  The latter is a necessity considering she lives with a chocoholic!  You know the type – an individual who has little “stashes” of chocolate in hidden places and when coming back from visiting said secret hiding spots can be seen to have a big fat smile on his/her face and sometimes even a bit of the evidence at the corner of his/her mouth.  The story goes that when my parents were first married my mother made her signature chocolate mousse, only to have my father consume the entire batch in one sitting.  Well, that is what we were told each time Mousse au Chocolat was on the menu at our house, along with the fact that my mother heaved a big sigh when my father was all done… ouf!chocolate mousse ingredients

Should you decide to make it, here is my mantra again: use the BEST ingredients! Best quality chocolate and fresh eggs from a farm, it will make it worth your time and effort!


(makes 4 to 6 servings )

  • 4oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 fresh eggs room temperature, separate

In a double boiler, melt chocolat and butter until smooth.  Off heat, mix egg yolk one at a time and transfer to a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until stiff.  Slowly fold the egg white into the chocolate mixture until all incorporated and uniform in color. Pour into a large bowl or into individual ramequins.chocolate messmelting chocolate

Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.  Serve with whipped cream if desired.

NOTE:  Over the years I have used the following chocolate brands: Callebaut, Lindt, Valrhona.  Now I am using Taza Chocolate (a local brand for me) and experiment with their different flavors: ginger, chili, salt&pepper, vanilla or just plain bittersweet.chocolate mousse

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucherempty chocolate mousse