Friday, April 29, 2011


In our frenetic world we tend to take things for granted and forget to be thankful for what we have no matter how little or big. We are so trapped in our routine, stressful daily life and modern style of living-induced problems that we have lost the true meaning of life. Our materialistic ways makes us assume that everything is due to us and that it is normal to be able to acquire anything we desire without thinking of the consequences. We never take the time to realize how lucky we are to have the opportunity to live on this wonderful planet and to profit from all the riches it has to offer...

Our relationship with nature has waned so much that it is nearly inexistent and we no longer revere Mother Earth as our so-called primitive ancestors did long before our mind became corrupt by our quest for power and the accumulation of goods. By destroying the link to our surroundings and behaving like mere "parasites" instead of being in harmony with the universe and respecting our environment, we have created our own downfall.

Those folks which we like to consider as "barbarians" and "uncivilized savages" were in fact a lot wiser than us who are supposed to be the illusively titled "evolved homo-sapiens". Let's not forget that they were true ecologists thousands of years ago. We have absolutely not invented this movement at all, all the contrary.

Maple Tartlets Picnik collage 2 bis
"Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence."
- Mourning Dove Salish 1888-1936

In the past, people saw Nature as being a manifestation of the Almighty Power (not necessarily God, but the force behind all things) and therefore admired it and treated it with the utmost respect. The entirety of what graced our globe had its place (nature is very balance focussed), reason for existing and humans didn't try to change this order of things.

In our times society sees things very differently and acts selfishly. After centuries of taking without giving and raping the Earth as if we had the supreme right to pillage everything according to our will, we are starting to understand that we no longer can ransack our "terra firma" without paying the price for our greediness and irresponsability.

"When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money."
- Cree Prophecy

Now that the world is polluted and that Nature is rebelling, we are forced to rethink our behaviour and stop believing that we can act like gods. We have become conscious that nothing is free, that all forms of existence deserve to be considered with deference as we live in a place of great beauty and wonder, and that at the end humanity will not have the last word. Men are doomed to disappear if the continue destroying their patrimony, but earth, just like a phoenix, will always be reborn of its ashes.

We a
re just travellers that have been accepted on board, temporary guests in these bodies and on this planet. We own nothing from birth till death, but owe a lot. Earth will never cease to exist with our without us...


Maple Tartlets Picnik collage 6 bis
Plastic Verrine supplied by (plastic plates & catering supplies).

We live in an era where travelling is easy and export-import represents the base of our economy. We are spoilt with all kinds
of exotic foods that hail from various far away lands. Supermarkets stalls are chock-a-block full of articles which were difficult to find even in the second half of the last century (50's-80's) and we are so accustomed to having effortless access to them that we are rarely aware of how lucky we are...

People are enclined to not care about where their food comes from or to learn more about the origin of the produces they purchase. They are totally detached from reality. It is for that reason that certain children are driven to believe that milk is made by a machine, that they don't recognize common vegetables and fruits or that they cannot associate meat to animals. For example, we all use litres of maple syrup, but how many have much knowledge about this liquid gold? Well, let me enlighten you a little.

Maple syrup is a 100% natural syrup made with the sap of sugar, red, black or Manitoba maple trees from Canada (Quebec, mainly but Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Saskatchewan as well) and USA (Vermont is the biggest producer, then there is New York, Maine, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Masachusetts and Connecticut). On a smaller scale, maple syrup is also produced in South Korea and Japan.

Its origins can be traced back to the early Amerindians
living in the northeastern part of North America. They were the first to have produced "sweet water" and who recognized its nutritional qualities (a big source of sucrose, potassium, calcium, zinc and manganese). The Europeans settlers were shown how to harvest the sap and adopted this ancestral technique from the Native Americans.

Nowadays, the production methods are basically the same as during the colonization. People start to collect the sap in early spring when it begins to flow. V-shaped incisions are made in the tree trunks and then metal spouts or plastic tubes are placed in the holes to drain out the precious juices into buckets or a large central container to which a few trees are linked. Once the sap has been recuperated it is brought to the sugar shack where it is boiled in a big kettle positioned over an open fire, so that most of the water evaporates in order to obtain a thickish syrup.

MAple Tartlets Picnik collage 4 bis
Maple syrup is graded according to scales based on its density and translucence. In Canada there exists three grades containing several color classes (#1 - Extra Light or AA, Light or A and Medium or B, #2 - Amber or C and #3 - Dark or D) and in the US there are two major grades only, the first one being broken into three sub-categories (Grade A - Light Amber/Fancy, Medium Amber and Dark Amber & Grade B). In order to qualify as maple syrup, this sweet liquid must contain at least 66% sugar. Canada is the largest producer. It makes more than 80 percent of the world's maple syrup, thus producing about 26,500,000 litres every year.

Unfortunately, there exists many deplorable imitations too. Those "Maple-flavored" syrups contain maple, but also other less expensive and unnatural ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup that is perfumed with an industrial aroma. Yuck!

This wonderful gift of nature can be used in a multitude of manners. Most often it is eaten with pancakes, waffles, crumpets, oatmeal (porridge) and French toast, but at the same time, it can be employed in savory dishes (marinade, baked beans or BBQ sauces), as a substitute for sugar (applesauce, candied sweet potatoes, winter squash, pies, breads, cakes, candy, tea, coffee, fudge and milkshakes) or to flavor desserts as well as baked goods (mousse, panna cotta, biscuits, fritters, ice cream and cereals). A very versatile and unique ingredients that tastes heavenly. Its wonderful warm hints of caramel with overtones of toffee make it an exquisite, irresistible and must have item that should be found in any kitchen!

So, when I discovered that the April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge, hosted by Evelyne of the blog "Cheap Ethnic Eatz", was all about maple syrup, I was delighted by the idea. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a "Maple Mousse" in an edible container. That sounded promising even if I must say that I didn't find it to be as adventurous as I would have wished it to be (maybe I have become a blasé "experienced" baker who is in need of riskier and more off the beaten track challenges - I still have to learn a lot, but I feel that I have to take it a step further).

As I didn't have much time left to make anything too elaborated before the deadline, I opted for "Maple Mousse & Mahlab Tartlets". I was sure that the mousse would be the ideal filling for my sweet tartlet shells and that the refined flavor of mahlab (a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern aromatic spice made with the seeds of the St Lucie cherries) would blend perfectly with that of the maple syrup.

As expected, my fuss-free tartlets were to die for. The flaky pastry had an ethereal heady aroma of cherries and almonds, and the airy mousse was delightfully light and pleasa
ntly creamy as well as rich, earthy and smokey tasting. A terrific combo!

Maple Tartlets Picnik collage 1 bis
~ Maple Mousse & Mahlab Tartlets ~
Recipe for the tartlets by myself and the mousse by Webgrrl74 at "Jamie Oliver Is Not My Boyfriend".

Makes 8 tartlets (I divided the mousse ingredients by two and it was just enough for my 8 tartlets).

Ingredients for the "Sweet Crust":
175g (6 oz) Plain flour

3/4 Tsp Mahlab
35g (1 1/4 oz) Castor sugar

1/2 Tsp Sea salt
85g Unsalted butter
1 Egg yolk
2-3 Tbs Cold water

Ingredients for the "Maple Mousse":
1 Cup (240ml/8 fluid oz.) Pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)
4 Large egg yolks
1 Package (7g/1 Tbs) Unflavoured gelatine
1 1/2 Cups (360ml/12 fluid oz) Whipping cream (35% fat content)

Method for the "Seet Crust":
1. Place the flour, mahlab, castor sugar, salt and butter into a food processor.
2. Mix at full speed until evenly blended.
3. Combine the egg yolk with the water and add to the mixture.
4. Mix until just combined and a soft dough comes together.

5. Wrap the dough in platic wrap and place for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator.
6. Preheat the oven to 190° C (175° F).
7. Press the pastry evenly into 8 greased tartlet moulds.

8. Prick the bases with a fork.
9. Line with baking paper and add the
weights (or beans).
10. Place the tartlets in the refrigerator for another 10 minutes.
11. Bake blind for 10 minutes, then remove the paper and bake for another 5-6 minutes.
12. Remove from the moulds and let cool on a rack.

Maple Tartlets Picnik collage 3 bis
Method for the "Maple Mousse":
1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).
3. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.
4. Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmerin g water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.
5. Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.
6. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.
7. Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.
8. Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your tartlet shells.

Wrapped airtight, the dough can be kept in the ref
rigerator for up to 2 days or frozen for a month.
Baked crusts can be kept in an air-tight container at room temperature for about 1 day.
In the maple mousse recipe, after the gelatine has bloomed (softened) in the cold whipping cream, the gelatine must be heated to melt completely, but never let gelatine b
oil or it will become stringy and unusable.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with whipped cream and accompany with a good coffee, ice coffe or a glass of ice cold milk.


Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas p u faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteurs et blogueurs francophones!

C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur le blog mentionné ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette de mousse en version française.

Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)

MAple Tartlets Picnik collage 5 bis


  1. Beautiful tartlets! Must taste delicious with the maple flavour!

  2. Love your post Rosa and pictures and the recipe! xx gloria

  3. I love the taste of mahleb. We use it frequently in Greek baking and especially in sweet bread baking.
    Your tartlets look amazing, they must taste equally so!

  4. Elles me plaisent beaucoup ces petites tartelettes ! De bien belles gourmandises !!

  5. I had never heard about mahlab before, and I simply love discovering new things. The descriptions I've read about it reminds me of sapote, I'm excited, thanks for the discovery!

  6. Maple Mousse??!! Oh mercy, the name alone makes me happy. I have to make this pronto! :-)

  7. Interesting issue. First humans were good, then bad, I am wondering whether we are starting to be good again. There is now growing awareness of food miles, improved efficiency (production, transportation etc) and this may reduce the pressure we put on earth, maybe, hopefully. We destroy then we fix - Marxist economics theory - creative destruction:)

    Have a nice weekend, those lovely tartlets will certainly help!

  8. Delicious, inspired baking.

    Love it Rosa!

  9. I’ve never made a tartlet but this looks soooo good!!

  10. ti auguro un sereno we...e complimneti per la meravigliosa tartellette molto molto golosa :)***

  11. Bravo, Rosa!
    Your tartlets are beautiful!

  12. Beautiful writing, pictures, and recipe. I love maple syrup. Pure and natural. xo

  13. Your recipe came with a rather political statement but it's good. Well, not exactly political. More like about awareness. ;D

  14. maple mousse, oh heavens I would love this for mother's day, lovely written post rosa!!


  15. Rosa you always have the most beautiful pictures!

  16. Very familiar with Mahlepi as we (Greeks) use it in Tsoureki (Easter Bread). These tarts look fab!

  17. There must be something in the air, as I just made maple custard cups! Too funny. ;)

  18. Quel belle idée cette tartelette avec le sirop d'érable!!
    Un délice!!

  19. I have never had mahlab before. It sounds interesting. Great post. Best, Sandie

  20. J'aime beaucoup l'utilisation du mahlab dans la recette (je n'aurais jamais pensé à ce type d'association !) et ton texte est très beau !

  21. Beautiful flavors in your beautiful tartlets! They look great, Rosa!

  22. Oh my Rosa, that crust is perfect, perfect... okay.. I had to google mahlab, I love learning something new!

  23. Very informative post, Rosa. I learned about Mahlab, and also that Korea produces maple syrup. I'm in Korea, but have never seen any here. I used the maple syrup imported from Canada for the challenge, but will keep an eye on the market for the local maple syrup :)
    As always, your photos are mouthwatering!

  24. Mahlab and maple syrup, two ingredients unknown in my kitchen. Nevertheless, the pics of the tartelets, appleblossoms and seeds are wonderful.

  25. your tarts look amazing, rosa, and perfect in every way. well done!

  26. Love creamy tartlets especially with the brittle sweet crust and a cup of tea.

  27. Discovering your new posts is always a pleasure because they have a real substance: interesting and very well written text, beautiful pics and, of course, innovative and delicious recipes. This one is no exception :-)your maple and mahlab tartlets are sublime!

  28. Lovely and smooth silky texture.
    Great clicks.
    Have a great weekend ♥

  29. Pas grave pour la vf, on se régale de tes photos ! Bon week-end !

  30. The flowers you have taken of nature are amazing. It would be a shame for us to take this for granted and then to destroy it. Thanks for such a touching post.

  31. Super ton défi, Rosa. J'aime beaucoup le principe de mettre la mousse dans une coque de pâte à tartelette. Aussi, j'aime beaucoup l'utilisation du mahlab, je ne connais pas et j'ai hâte de découvrir... Bon week end!

  32. Wow!! Quelle délice ces tartelettes!! Ainsi que les z'images ma belle Rosa:)

    Merci du partage et bo samedi xx

  33. What amazing tartlets Rosa and maple that sounds fantastic too!

  34. Your tatrtlets look beautiful Rosa, and that's an interesting flavour twist.

  35. Very delicious looking dessert. Maple syrup sounds delightfully sweet.

  36. Beautiful tartlets, as always, excellent photography!

  37. What lovely tarts and that 1st shot of the flower is wonderful!

  38. Elles donnent juste envie de croquer dedans. leur tendre couleur et le croquant de la pâte, une pure gourmandise.

  39. Great post Rosa! These tartlets sound so delicious!

  40. What an amazing creation! I have never thought to use mahlab in a tart crust and this is such a brilliant idea! I also love maple syrup and have read of its astounding benefits health-wise; such a delightful treat!

  41. The origins of food have always grabbed my attention. I always appreciate the way you extract the pertinance of it through your creative recipes.
    I love these tarts, especially since me and maple syrup have a very sweet connection ;o)

    Have a great week Rosa.
    Ciao for now,

  42. Gorgeous tartlets, Rosa! Love the mahlab in your tartlet crust!

  43. Perfect little tarts, Rosa! I use maple syrup in a lot of desserts, especially in the fall.

  44. I've never heard of this spics, mahlab but it looks too good and photos are so gorgeous, as usual;
    Especially the second one with the mahlab seeds. Pink and Blueadds an Indian atmospher

  45. Love the post. It is so scary to envision a future when one day there will be no trees, no blossoms and no fauna. hope that we all come out from our selfish pursuits to save what is left of this beautiful world.

    The tarlets looks beautiful and the shots excellent as always..

  46. Maple syrup can sure help bring some sweetness back into our world - at least my world anyway ;) Beautiful tartlets!

  47. cette mousse venu du Nord me tente bien !!pierre

  48. This is such a beautiful post. Thanks for reminding us of how lucky we are :)

  49. wow! those look like they came out perfect! nice work!

  50. do you know that everytime i see a blackberry in the grocery i think of you? lol crazy eh?
    sorry i haven't commented in ages, but had to say these maple tarts look fab. maple is one of my favorite flavors to work with in scones, cakes and puddings.

  51. Lovely tartlets! I am very intrigued by Mahlab, would love to try this spice.

  52. those Tartlets looks so perfect and nice

  53. Beautiful flavours and another wonderful creation, Rosa! You are so gifted.

  54. Je ne connaissais pas. Elles ont l'air divines ces tartelettes.

  55. I love the addition of mahlab. I've been using it a lot during my Easter baking.

  56. Hello, fellow traveler :)

    Lovely tarts, delicate and fragrant. You are very talented.
    Have a nice week.

  57. J'adore, et j'adore aussi tes photos !

  58. You are absolutely right, Rosa. We have always tried to live in tune with nature and teach our sons the "religion" of nature. And eating natural foods collected or grown or bred as naturally as possible is a part of it. I love the tartlets and love the maple flavor. Beautiful as always, dear.

  59. I've never thought of maple mousse! It sounds so delicious and they look quite adorable!

  60. It looks so good that I could die to get one... Yuum

  61. Thanks for reminding me I need to locate mahlab. It sounds like such an interesting ingredient. Your tarts look incredible, and now I'm craving the flavor of maple syrup!

  62. Of course I live in maple country - Vermont and we have a lot of maple sweetened desserts here - and also savory dishes! This looks great! How about you come visit me, and make these?

  63. just found your blog and boy am I glad I did. Your writing, baking and pictures are just beautiful!!
    -Mini Baker

  64. Another month has passed so fast? Wow! You always do such a great job at these Daring Bakers challenges. I really admire you :)

  65. It is always a pleasure to visit you blog, the tartlets are so cute and love the combination of sweet crust with the maple mousse. Have a great week ahead Rosa :-)

  66. the pictures of the flowers and the tree-lined walkway are stunning. you make like look so beautiful. great treats to enjoy in this weather!

  67. Wow Rosa, those tartlets are to die for! The combination must be delightful!

  68. absolutely delicious, cheers from london

  69. I have a can of maple syrup in my pantry, given to me by a Canadian friend. I think I'll make this mousse . It sounds wonderful.

  70. Very touching post Rosa! True time has come that we put a pause and think about our Mother Earth and the gift and all blessings that our Almighty has blessed us with then only every relationship both with human and with nature can be healed!
    Your maple mousse looks heavenly delicious!

  71. Impossible for our taste buds not to be awakened by words such as 'maple syrup' and 'mousse,' within the title!
    And then, there are the accompanying, delectable pictures.

  72. This is perfect for me! We just had friends from Canada bring us FABULOUS maple syrup. As I was putting it away I saw that I had a few other containers that I had been "saving" for a special occasion. I believe your tartlets will be it.

  73. Your tarts are as as lovely as your post. I love to know the origins of the food I'm eating and found the information on Canadian syrup very interesting. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  74. Riveting post, Rosa.

    I adore "sugaring" time in Pennsylvania. Katie has tons of maple trees!!! I can't wait to tell her about this recipe. She's quite the baker and if I ask her, I'm inclined to think she just may share some...

    Thank you so much for sharing...Yours looks lovely:)

  75. Beautiful Post Rosa..the pictures are stunning, and your detailed account so good to read!

  76. J'aime beaucoup ce post et je suis totalement d'accord. Bonne journée.

  77. Beautiful tartlets! Mahleb is new. Would love to try!

  78. I couldn't agree more more. It's shameful the way we've mistreated the earth. I would however like to be treated to one of these gorgeous tarts. Love the picture with the sun shining on it.

  79. Wonderful post Rosa! You are so right about how we take everything on our beautiful planet for granted.

    Your tartlets look incredible. I agree; only pure maple syrup will do. I would love to try them:)

  80. I have trouble with blogger today...this is my second effort to leave a comment...
    a lovely post with stunning photos and I am such a big lover of maple syrup too...and of course I echo your thoughts!

  81. Excellent post Rosa, and very informative...your tartlets are gorgeous and I am sure amazing :)

  82. The tarts look gorgeous! Crumbly crust with creamy goodness in them...What a great treat

  83. Stunning! Love the ideas of the maple syrup!!

  84. Rosa, I like to think that I don't take things for granted in life. I was raised by two people who had lived through extensive bombing during WWII in London, where material possessions were scarce. But when it comes to the planet, I tend to agree we all don't realise what we've done, and how much we abuse something so amazing.

    Speaking of amazing, I really love your tarts and how you have weaved the challenge in this month. Delicious!

  85. Thank you so much for this post - I've learnt so much about maple syrup! Your tarts look so pretty, maple mousse is a delicious idea.

  86. Looks delicious and those tomatoes are beautiful!