A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor
1977, Rand McNally & Company.
Evening in a Sugar Orchard by Robert Frost.
Goodbye March! Thankfully, it’s going out like a lamb, as it should, since it came in like a lion.
March is sugaring season, when thawing days and freezing nights make the sap run in the trees. Here is a beautiful poem about it by Robert Frost:
This poem can be read by anyone, but older children could really get into what Frost is doing with his use of language, rhyme, imagery, and his various references. It’s also a fun poem to memorize and recite. I particularly love the image of the sparks making constellations in the branches. You could even go outside on a clear night and try to see Leo, Orion, and the Pleiades.
Maple syrup is a wonderful and versatile sweetener which can be used in so many ways. In Tasha Tudor’s A Time to Keep, she shows what a big event sugaring used to be, with everyone pitching in to help, and then having a big open air feast at the end. Many of you may not be able to go sugaring, but if you can, you should! I had to get mine from a bottle, but it was still great. I used it to make a chocolate ganache.
Note: To make a thick ganache, chocolate and cream should be in a 1:1 ratio or equal parts. However, I substituted a quarter of the cream with maple syrup. To make enough to frost a small cake, I used two 180g (about 6 oz) bars of chocolate, melted, 270g (about 9 oz) cream, and 90g (about 3 oz) maple syrup.
Melt the chocolate. You can use the microwave, or you can rig up a double boiler by putting a metal or Pyrex bowl into a pan of water and bringing the water to a simmer, then putting the chocolate in the bowl, stirring occasionally until it is melted. Remove from heat and slowly add cream and syrup, stirring until it is a glossy, even mixture. Refrigerate for at least several hours, until set. After this you can roll it into truffles, or eat it with a spoon. Or refrigerate it only till cool, and frost a cake.
Bring your cake to a sugaring-off party (and have sugar on snow for a treat)!