Pouding Chômeur, a Cure


Pouding Chômeur was conceived in trying times. Translated, it is "poor/unemployed man's pudding", and its early incarnations were eaten in Quebec's depression of the late 1920's-early 3o's and used variations of sugar or maple syrup, shortening, flour and milk. The beauty of this recipe is its ability to provide the comfort that only sweet, rich and homely foods can. It's perfect for a recession winter, a little sadness, some spiritual troubles: keeping it simple with a humble treat. But what a treat! The texture is a cross between a pound cake, a dense pudding, and sticky bun, topped with a caramelized crust. It can double down for a decadent breakfast or a dinner party dessert, baked in individual bowls. I'd like to experiment adding apple or pear in the bottom to pretend it is even vaguely healthful. But really, healthful is a little beside the point with this category of treats. The point is to be soothed, soothed with butter and sugar. Is there anything better? No.



(makes 3 large ramekins, or 6 small)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 TBSP butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs

1 cup grade B maple syrup
1 cup cream or whole milk

Put sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, blend sugar and butter, starting off on low speed and building up to medium speed, until sticky and thoroughly blended. Separately, sift together flour and baking powder. Add dry mix to butter-sugar mix and blend with mixer on low speed until fully mixed dough forms. Now, patience: wrap bowl up in plastic wrap and put in fridge for at LEAST 24 hours (I did closer to 2 days).


When ready for baking, preheat oven to 450 and take out dough and evenly distribute between oven proof containers (I used ramekins). Dough should fill container 3/4 full. To make sauce, put 1 cup pure grade B maple syrup (the good stuff, no offense to Aunt Jemima) and 1 cup cream or whole milk in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Take off heat. Ladle sauce into each dough-filled containers, about half full but not brimming. Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Eat warm, feel better.


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