Food 52sday Recipe Interpretation: Pudding Chomeur

Nevermore and Pudding Chomeur 046I 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.  Nevermore and Pudding Chomeur 039

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.

Nevermore and Pudding Chomeur 012I served it with just a touch of unsweetened cream. Not even whipped. Just straight.

Nevermore and Pudding Chomeur 021I didn't really know what to expect when I started out with balls of stodgy dough in hot syrup, but they baked up into rich, buttery, cinnamony dumplings floating in mapley goodness. Very, Very yum.

Nevermore and Pudding Chomeur 043

Food 52sday Recipe Interpretation: Pudding Chomeur
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
Like sticky toffee pudding, only better.
What You Need
For the Dough
  • 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
For the Sauce
  • 2 cups maple syrup (I used Grade B)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • salt, to taste--about ½ teaspoon
What To Do
For the Dough
  1. Cream the butter until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar, salt and cinnamon, and cream until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.
  3. Beat the two eggs, and then drizzle in the egg a bit at a time.
  4. Whisk the flour and the baking powder together and stir it in on low speed until just combined. Refrigerate overnight.
For the Syrup
  1. Bring the cream, maple syrup and salt to a boil. Remove from the heat.
To Assemble and Bake
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Serve with syrup and some heavy cream, sour cream or a bit of creme fraiche.
Other Stuff to Know
This recipe made a Very Lot of syrup. I suggest cutting back the amount to 1½ cups each cream and maple syrup. It will still be plenty sweet and gooey, but you might not feel quite so guilty.

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.






  1. says

    Poor man’s pudding works for me!  Looks delish.

    I studied French in college and sometimes do okay.  I do remember one line from high school Spanish though.  “Hola, Juan, como esta usted?”   That’s the sum total of one year of Spanish education.  🙂

  2. Tracey@Tangled Noodle says

    Wait a minute: I grew up in Canada and never heard of this deliciousness! Someone needs to explain… At least thank you for revealing this glaring lack in my upbringing. 😉

  3. says

    Oh, now I must insist that you go to a Cabana a sucre! You would find this pouding chomeur there, as well as my favorites: Les oreilles de Chrisse, Saucisses des erables, crepes, chow chow, cretons, maple eggs, and other awesome maple syrup goodies.

  4. Lauremoyle says

    Love that recipe: le dessert des chomeurs, je ne connaissais pas! Is it a French Canadian origin then? Keep recipes like that coming 🙂

    • says

      Yes, it originated in Quebec. It’s very yum, and I actually have been looking into French Canadian desserts because of this one and as suggested y @JasonSandeman:disqus in his comment below. 🙂

  5. Jo-Anne says

    oh my gosh. This was so delicious and surprisingly not as sweet as one would think. I served it warm without any additional topping, although many around the table requested ice cream. I was told that I could make it again in May for the dessert for one of the friend’s 65th birthday. I would definitely add UConn Dairy Bar Vanilla Ice Cream to the shopping list. 

    I agree it made way too much syrup (for my pan anyway). I made 9 little balls of dough and flattened them slightly. Placed them in a 9×9″ baking dish. Covered them with syrup to about 1/2″ from the top of the baking dish. I have about 1 3/4 cup left in a canning jar to be used on oatmeal for the next, well, probably the next month!

    The only other change I made to the recipe was to reduce the syrup by simmering it for about 2 hours the night before to thicken it. I don’t know why I did it, but I was afraid the syrup and cream mixture would be too thin. It was, in my opinion, a good thick gooey consistency. Next time I’ll make it as written, in order to compare! 

    • says

       I love that you reduced the syrup–I had wondered about the same thing, myself.  I boiled the cream&syrup together for about 5 minutes, which reduced it slightly, and it also reduced some in the oven. By the time we chilled/reheated/chilled/reheated a couple of times, the syrup was very thick and lovely. It was a little thin to begin w/. I think reducing is a great idea!  I am so happy you’re playing along w/#food52sday!!

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