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Canadian Dessert Recipes

Pouding Chomeur (Poor Man’s Pudding)

Pouding Chomeur is a traditional French Canadian dessert consisting of a simple cake baked in a hot caramel sauce made of maple syrup or brown sugar.

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Updated 3-27-2022

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.

A traditional sugar shack and sap bucket, Hatley QC, Canada. Photo: Alain Bonnardeaux

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

Pouding Chomeur (Poor Man’s Pudding)

Kevin Lamoureux
This old-time recipe is a simple cake baked in a maple or caramel sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 8 people
Calories 270 kcal

Ingredients
  

Batter

  • 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

Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • ¾ cup maple syrup or 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter

Instructions
 

Batter

  • 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.

Sauce

  • 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.

Notes

It’s best served warm
Nutrition
Per serving
Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 32g | Iron: 1mg
Keyword cake, maple, Pudding

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