Simmons first tasted the iconic Canadian tarte au sucre when visiting her grandparents in Montreal.
"If it was early spring, our trip included a stop at one of the many traditional cabanes à sucre—sugar shacks—small cabins where sap tapped from sugar maple trees is boiled into some of the finest amber syrups in the world. There we indulged in treats like maple sugar and tire d’erable—a taffy-pop hybrid made by drizzling and freezing thickly boiled maple sap over icy-cold fresh snow, then turning it around a popsicle stick. All of that, while utterly delightful, could not steal the thunder from the pièce de résistance: rich, sticky tarte au sucre. We’d share a slice on site and often buy a whole tart to bring home."
Flavored with sweet brown sugar and maple syrup, slices of the rich, sticky tart are traditionally served with a splash of chilled cream (although it tastes amazing on its own). Simmons suggests making the tart a day ahead of parties, then keeping it covered in the fridge. For a striking finish at the end of the meal, she brings the tart to room temperature, then pours the cream on top at the table.