Maple syrup is the first farm crop to be harvested in Michigan each spring, with methods of vapor compression or reverse osmosis. Syrup season is finicky and fleeting, dependent on the sunny days and bitter nights of March. Freezing and thawing temperatures create pressure that forces the sap to rise—very rapid swings in temperature (from the 20’s to the 40’s) gets the sap running freely. Once the first peep of green arrives, the syrup season is over; the budding of maple trees changes the sap composition and makes syrup taste bitter.

Here is a great recipe for coconut ricotta pancakes, to make use of pure Michigan maple syrup. They are marvelous, but quite a different texture than fluffy or cake-y pancakes we’re used to. They are incredibly moist and tender. This is a from-scratch recipe, but I honestly have had luck just adding ricotta and coconut to regularly prepared Aunt Jemima mix, so if you’re after a streamlined way to a delicious breakfast, use your regular pancake recipe and just add ricotta and coconut. They’ll be heavier than your usual ’cake, but somehow the texture is light and tender.

Click here for the recipe.

How To: make your own maple syrup to top these.

Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski