“In Quebec, maple syrup isn’t just something you drizzle on pancakes,” said Oliver Strand in Bon Appétit. People use the syrup as an excuse to sit down for a feast at one of the many cabanes à sucre, or “sugar shacks,” where freshly tapped maple sap is boiled down to the pancake topping we all know. Since he opened his own seasonal cabane à sucre outside Montreal in 2009, chef Martin Picard of Au Pied de Cochon has done for sugar-shack fare what he did for Quebec cuisine in general—elevated it to a higher level.
Martin Picard’s duck-fat pancakes
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
2 cups plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 1½ tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar • ¼ tsp kosher salt
approx. 1 cup duck fat (or clarified unsalted butter), melted
pure maple syrup
Whisk milk and eggs in large bowl to blend. Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture; whisk just to blend. Cover and chill for up to 1 hour.
Melt duck fat in large skillet to depth of 1/3 inch over medium heat. Using a ¼-cup measure and working in batches, spoon batter into skillet. Cook until pancakes are slightly puffed and golden brown and bubbles form and begin to pop along edges, 1 to 2 minutes.
Flip and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancakes to paper-towel-lined plate. When serving, drizzle generously with syrup. Makes 16 pancakes.
Note: Rendered duck fat can be found in the freezer section of supermarkets like Whole Foods, at some butcher shops, and at Dartagnan.com.