I took French for 3 years. The first sentence I ever learned to say was “Je vais à la plage.” I have just told you that I am going to the beach. But it’s a lie. I don’t even really like the beach. I wish my first sentence had been “Je vais à la montagne….”
I never really understood reading and following a map until Mr. Blanton, my high school French teacher, told us to pretend that we were in “une petite voiture” driving along on the lines. And then I got it. And now we all have GPSes, but I am still grateful that I can actually give directions using a map if I have to. Merci, Monsieur Blanton.
But I never learned the word chomeur. I learned words for window and bird and cow and school. Verbs to be, to do, to go. I learned places to work: Usine. Boulangerie. Bibliothèque. Hôpital. But never the word chomeur.
So when I chose Pudding Chomeur for this week’s Food52sday post, I just thought it was some fancy Canadian dessert. And then I looked it up. And chomeur means unemployed. Friends, pudding chomeur is the Dessert of the Unemployed. Poor man’s pudding.
During the Great Depression, some women who used to be factory workers came up with this dessert so they could still provide their families with sweet endings. It’s made from a bunch of stuff that most Canadians of the day could get hold of for next to nothing. Things like eggs and butter and cream and maple syrup. Sounds like a pretty expensive list of ingredients, but if everyone had a chicken or three and a cow–or a neighbor had one–all that was left was the maple syrup. Which comes from Canada. Which is covered with sugar maples. So, you see: Cheap!
I had Comedy Central on the other evening, and Nick Cannon was on doing stand up. I didn’t know he even did that. But I guess he does, because there he was. Anyway, he was talking about how he doesn’t understand fancy desserts. When he was growing up, dessert was some Wonder bread with butter, sugar and cinnamon on it. I get that. I ate plenty of cinnamon toast, too. It’s cheap, and it hits the spot.
That’s pudding chomeur. It’s cheap (if you’re Canadian and own chickens and cows and maple trees), and it hits the spot. The recipe from the Food52 Cookbook appears to be fairly standard. Some of the recipes I found used brown sugar, water and butter for the syrup, but just as many used the maple syrup/heavy cream combination. And really, when given the choice, isn’t that what you’d do? Besides, in an Ironic Twist, I had some lovely organic Grade B maple syrup leftover from when I did The Master Cleanse. I’m pretty sure the Two Cups I used kind of canceled out The Master Cleanse.
Before I made this, I thought about plumping up and mincing some dried apples to add to the batter, and I think that would be really good, as would nuts, but I tried to stay more-or-less true to the spirit of the dish–easy-to get, cheap ingredients–and The Beloved said they didn’t have any dried apples at the store. I did incorporate brown sugar into the batter, and because even though I think Pop-Tarts are kind of The Devil, I have long admired their flavor pairings of brown sugar-cinnamon and maple-brown sugar, I threw some cinnamon into the mix as well. And salt. In the batter and the sauce, because otherwise, I think my teeth would’ve fallen out as I ate.
This is a Very Easy dish to make. And eat. I made the batter, which is really more like a cookie dough, yesterday and threw it in the fridge. Then, today, I just boiled the cream, syrup and salt together, poured it over my dough and baked.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
- 1 scant cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 10 oz all purpose flour (about 2⅓ cups)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups maple syrup (I used Grade B)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- salt, to taste–about ½ teaspoon
- Cream the butter until smooth.
- Add the sugar, salt and cinnamon, and cream until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.
- Beat the two eggs, and then drizzle in the egg a bit at a time.
- Whisk the flour and the baking powder together and stir it in on low speed until just combined. Refrigerate overnight.
- Bring the cream, maple syrup and salt to a boil. Remove from the heat.
- You can bake this in individual ramekins or in a large baking dish. Either way, divide the dough into 10-12 equal portions. Place one in each ramekin, or just put them all in one dish, side by side.
- Pour the hot syrup mixture over the dough and bake at 450F for 20-25 minutes, or until a lovely deep golden brown on top.
- Serve with syrup and some heavy cream, sour cream or a bit of creme fraiche.
So, there you have it. This was so good, but I can guarantee that I will be giving some of this away to the neighbors and to The Beloved’s work friends. This stuff is dangerous.
I hope you played along. If you did, please link up in the comments and/or post a picture and/or link over on the fan page. Then, tune in next week to hear The Beloved’s second pick!
Thanks, and have a lovely day.