These Maple Dumplings, or Grandpères, are a Canadian treat that reign supreme in sugar shacks at the start of maple season. It’s a simple, yet elegant, dessert best served warm with ice cream and toasted pecans.
When we lived in Canada, we loved going to the sugar shacks in the early spring. You watch sap boil and turn into maple syrup. Then, you eat delicious maple-flavored treats. Like the best pancakes and sausage breakfast imaginable and maple candy.
But one of my absolute favorites, and seriously underrated, desserts was maple dumplings. In Canada, they are known as Grandpères.
I saw this recipe in New England Today and knew I had to share.
What are Grandperes?
Maple Dumplings, or Grandpères, are fluffy dumplings simmered in a maple syrup sauce. When the dumplings cook, the starch thickens the sauce and it becomes a thick, caramel-y concoction that is so incredible.
Fun Fact: Grandpères was a popular dessert in Quebec during the Depression. They still remain a favorite in many French Canadian homes today.
The ingredient list is short and sweet – literally! It’s broken down into the maple simmer sauce and the dumpling dough.
For the simmer sauce, you will need water, maple syrup, rum and salt.
For the dumplings, gather together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter and buttermilk.
Maple Syrup. Maple syrup is the star of the show, so you want to make sure you get the good stuff. I like Butternut Farms from Vermont, but Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s brands are great options. Look for it in the baking aisle or purchase online.
Butter + Buttermilk. The dumpling dough is similar to how you would make a biscuit or scone, so use cold butter and buttermilk for best results.
How to Make // The Steps
I like to first start by setting my oven on the warm setting. The dumpling dough is too much for one batch, so I simmer them in two batches. The warm oven keeps them tender and cozy upon serving.
- Preheat oven to warm setting, about 180° F.
- In a large pot with a lid, or 5-quart Dutch oven, bring water, maple syrup, rum, and salt to a boil over medium heat.
- While the syrup is coming to a boil, start the dumpling dough. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment. Pulse to combine.
- Cube the cold butter into ½-inch pieces.
- Add the cold butter to the food processor.
- Pulse 6 to 8 times, or until it resembles a coarse meal.
- Pour out into a bowl and add buttermilk.
- Stir until combined. If dry, add another tablespoon of buttermilk.
- Use a spoon or small ice cream scoop and drop dough into the sauce. Fill the pot ⅔ full. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked dumplings to an oven-safe dish and place in the warm oven.
- Repeat with the remaining dough. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water to thin it out.
- Serve the dumplings warm with sauce, whipped cream or ice cream, and toasted pecans.
What Makes These Maple Dumplings So Good?
I like to make these homemade grandpères to bring me back to my days living in Canada any chance I get because:
- It’s pleasantly sweet with just the right amount of soft, maple flavor.
- The recipe is simple enough for a weeknight dessert, yet elegant enough to entertain with friends.
- It’s a year-round treat best served during the fall, winter, spring and summer.
I do think that these need a little crunch, so I add some toasted pecans on top. A scoop of my No-Churn Salted Cinnamon Ice Cream sends this over the edge. Whipped cream is also delicious or vanilla ice cream.
This simple dessert (although I think that this would be a divine special breakfast or brunch item) is perfect for a chilly fall day.
Top Tips for Maple Dumplings:
- The rum is optional but recommended. It adds that extra bit of finesse, so I always make sure to use it.
- Use cold butter and buttermilk. This creates pockets of steam and makes the dumplings that much fluffier.
- Pulse the butter until it’s the size of peas. This is about the same texture as coarse meal.
- Add more buttermilk, if necessary. If the dough is too dry, add 1 Tablespoon of buttermilk at a time until it easily comes together.
- Scoop a walnut-size bit of dough. Use a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon for even-sized dumplings.
- Simmer in batches. The dumplings expand during cooking, so it’s best to simmer them in batches to prevent sticking.
- Add more water to the simmer syrup if it becomes too thick. The simmer syrup will thicken naturally from cooking and absorbing starch from the dumplings. Adding a touch more water before the second batch prevents it from becoming too gloppy.
More Maple Recipes //
- Maple Blondies
- Maple Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- Blueberry Pancake Muffins with Maple Glaze
- Maple Bourbon Custard Pie
- Mini Pavlovas with Maple Soaked Berries
- Roasted Pears with Maple Ricotta Cream
- Maple Oatmeal Muffins
- Apple Skillet Popover with Maple Yogurt Cream
- Maple Cheesecake