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Pudding Chômeur. Photo: Cook's Illustrated

Pudding Chômeur is a dessert in which simple biscuit dough is poached in maple syrup caramel. A version of this recipe worked its way down to Vermont but the original is 100% made from scratch and oh, so decadent. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the dish originated in the depression era when housewives relied on desserts made with simple ingredients. The literal translation means “pudding of the unemployed,” though there is absolutely nothing austere about it.

What do you need to make a Pudding Chômeur?

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Photo: Try Baking

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 cup white sugar

¼ cup margarine

1 cup milk

2 cups of water

2 cups brown sugar

¼ cup margarine

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Now, let's get started!

Step 1

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Step 2

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Photo: Once Upon A Chef

Sift the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl. Beat the egg, sugar, and 1/4 cup margarine together in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk to the egg mixture, stirring just to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared dish.

Step 3

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan; stir the brown sugar, 1/4 cup margarine, and vanilla extract into the water and return to a boil for 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the batter.

Step 4

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Photo: Pulse Live Kenya

Bake in the preheated oven until the center is set, about 45 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving:

516 calories; protein 4.4g 9% DV; carbohydrates 98.6g 32% DV; fat 12.7g 20% DV; cholesterol 25.7mg 9% DV; sodium 231.3mg 9%

As you can guess from its name, Pouding Chômeur (literally translated as unemployment pudding, or poor man’s pudding) is an example of creativity during a period of economic crisis. In fact, it dates back to 1929, a time when many Montreal industrial workers were being laid off. Money was becoming tight for most families, who therefore had to manage with the few resources at their disposal.

No one knows exactly who first had the idea to use cheap and commonly found ingredients to concoct a delicious dessert. In the toughest times of the crisis, it was simply made with stale bread soaked in brown sugar syrup (at the time cheaper than sugar) and water, according to SOS Cuisine.

The recipe quickly spread to all the disadvantaged areas of the major cities in Quebec and Acadia. Over the years, and after economic conditions improved, other ingredients came to be added to the original four, which were flour, butter, milk, and brown sugar: eggs, cream, maple syrup, etc. Some are even made with chocolate! All these ingredients make up a white cake on which brown sugar or maple syrup and water are poured. After cooking, the syrup, now thicker, settles at the bottom.

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