I didn't make her a cake.
I KNOW. RUDE. Especially since she will make me any blessed cake I request for my birthday, including this monster that takes hours to put together.
But before you get all up in arms about my refusal to bake a cake for the MiL, you should know that she doesn't actually eat cake. Not only does she not really like cake all that much (don't ask me to explain this, but I suppose we all have our strange personality quirks), but she also doesn't digest gluten all that well. So. No cake.
I did ask her if she had any requests for a dessert for her birthday dinner last night, but she was all, "Oh, I think ice cream and maple syrup will be fine." Well, yes, it would be fine, because vanilla ice cream and maple syrup is ALWAYS fine, but I suspected she was just trying to save me some work in the kitchen. While I appreciated her effort, I also thought that surely I could find something she would like for dessert.
Also, if I'm to be honest, something that wouldn't involve two hours, meringues, or the folding in of egg whites. Alsoalso, something that didn't involve cream, because we were out.
It is surprisingly difficult to come up with a non-flour dessert that doesn't require cream. But her request for ice cream and maple syrup gave me an idea. So I did a search for maple custard and found this recipe. And actually, ONLY that recipe. It showed up on several different sites, but that was literally the only recipe for maple custard I found.
Well, except for a scary recipe from Betty Crocker or something that involved maple flavoring and other nastiness. But I dismissed that one right out of hand, because why mess around with maple flavoring when you've got two gallons of actual maple syrup?
And that, I suppose, is the reason for a recipe involving ersatz maple: You will not have two gallons of maple syrup unless you tapped trees and spent days evaporating the resulting sap to make your own syrup. And without that glut of maple syrup, you will probably not be using an entire half cup of it to make custard. Maple syrup is expensive, I know. Half a cup is a lot when you're buying a pint of it at the grocery store for eight bucks.
But! Should you happen to have half a cup of maple syrup that you would like to cook with, then all you need are some eggs and milk and you too can have a delicious, non-cake birthday dessert. Because it WAS delicious. You know, for something that wasn't cake.