Originating in Quebec, during the Great Depression, pouding chomeur is good old-fashioned comfort food. As the name suggests, it was popular with the poor chômeurs (unemployed) due to its relatively inexpensive and readily available ingredients. It’s basically flour, brown sugar, baking powder, milk and eggs. As Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup in the world, it seemed like a no-brainer that it would be substituted for the brown sugar.
The maple variation is what has gained popularity in the 21st century, especially during the spring maple sugar season. Those sugar bush operations that open to the public will sell several types of maple products. If you’re lucky enough to book an outing at a traditional Quebecois cabane à sucre (sugar shack) expect some lively entertainment and a maple themed meal that is topped off with some hot pouding chômeur.
Maple syrup or brown sugar, just keep it real
There are benefits to using all natural maple syrup. It is actually sweeter than brown sugar so less is used in this recipe, compared to brown sugar. According to health experts, real maple syrup is also healthier than most other sugars. However, the real thing is not cheap and not always widely available. If you don’t have real maple syrup then you’re best to use brown sugar. Keep in mind that artificial maple syrup is basically maple flavoured corn syrup with some, not so healthy, additional ingredients.
The health benefits of real maple syrup
Variations on the theme
In the United States and in other English speaking parts of the world, this dish is often referred to as poor man’s pudding or poor man’s pudding cake and sometimes pudding chomeur. I’ve also come across a similar recipe called floating island. It’s so named because once cooked, the cake floats on the syrup. But it’s more of a poor man’s floating island than Julia Child’s fancy French meringue floating island.
Pouding Chomeur (Poor Man’s Pudding)
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 ½ cups boiling water
- ¾ cup maple syrup or 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- Preheat oven to 350 F with rack in the middle position.
- In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together then mix in the eggs followed by the milk and vanilla. Combine with the dry ingredients.
- Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch (6 cup / 1.5 litre) baking dish and set aside.
- In a 4 cup measure or bowl, mix the sauce ingredients until the butter has melted.
- Pour the sauce over the batter by directing the flow over the back of a large spoon (Do this to avoid eroding the even layer of batter).
- Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
NutritionPer serving Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 32g | Iron: 1mg
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Other maple syrup recipes
- Maple Glazed Salmon
- Pancakes from Scratch
- Wild Blueberry Pancakes
- Spinach Salad with Walnut Maple Vinaigrette
- Squash and Sweet Potato Soup