Pouding Chômeur – Classic Québécoise
There’s something delightfully tongue-in-cheek about posting a recipe for Pouding Chômeur on St. Jean Baptiste Day from our home in Quebec. Even more so when I tell you that, after seven years of living in ‘la belle province’, I am (ever so slowly) learning French thanks to Emploi Quebec.
I now dream in French and butcher the language almost daily by pronouncing silent letters and referring to objects in the wrong tense. (Why is a chair feminine? Merde!)
Literally translated ‘Pouding Chômeur’ means ‘Unemployed Man’s Pudding’. A go-to recipe when money was tight and bellies were empty, it was first published in a magazine the 1930’s. Borrowing from Anglo traditions, it had humble beginnings. Just simple sauce cake, made with brown sugar and water.
Like many recipes born of poverty and necessity, Pouding Chômeur has gone bougie, thanks to the influence of chefs like Montreal’s Martin Picard and the Food Network’s Ricardo. Now rather than brown sugar and water we slurp up a carmel of cream and maple syrup, and trust me when I say ‘it ain’t’ cheap!’
My first taste of Pouding Chômeur came from a little closer to home than Picard’s Le Pied du Cochon. It was a shared bite over brunch with a good friend at the table of another Quebec born chef, Marysol Foucault of Edgar, just down the street. It had been ages since I’d been so well fed, and in such good company. As Marysol re-opens after expansions, renovations AND a new baby (good GOD woman, do you ever sleep?!) – I thank her for the inspiration and wish her a muuch more joy to come!
Sweet and satisfying, I was hooked. Frankly I love a saucy cake! So I did a bit of tweaking and came up with a recipe unique to my own modest upbringings. First I borrowed from an old family recipe – Grandma Jones’ Deep Plum Pudding – for the cake base. Then added an egg, some butter (hello, have you MET me?!~) and smothered it in a Picard inspired maple-cream caramel.
Not bad for a west coast kid raised on canned cheese and ritz crackers – eh?!
- • 1½ cups flour
- • ½ cup sugar
- • ½ teaspoon salt
- • 3 teaspoons baking powder
- • ¼ cup butter, melted
- • ½ cup milk
- • 1 egg
- • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- • 2 cups maple syrup
- • 2 cups heavy cream
- • non-stick spray
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Coat an eight cup baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Add dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add butter, milk, the egg and vanilla and fold with a spatula until mixed well. Potion into six servings with a spoon or ice-cream scoop and drop side-by-side into prepared pan.
- Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, add cream and maple syrup and mix lightly with a whisk. Continue to stir as needed over medium-high heat until boiling. Then boil hard for two minutes and pour immediately over pudding batter. DO NOT MIX.
- Bake at 350F for 50 - 60 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and serve, warm.