Maple Pouding Chomeur
Maple sugar-making was an important social activity for the indigenous peoples. Families and small groups gathered in temporary camps in early March, staying for about a month in order to make their yearly supply. Diagonal cuts were made in the base of the sugar maple trees (Acer saccharum) with an axe and the sap that flowed out was gathered in shallow containers. Originally the syrup was boiled by plunging hot stones into the sap in large wooden troughs.
The First Nations taught the early French to use the sap of the sugar maple and the settlers quickly adapted this ancient knowledge with more “modern” methods, tapping the trees with metal spigots and collecting the sap in pails, hard work usually done on snowshoes when the snow is deep. Rather than wooden troughs, they had large metal cauldrons.
This delicious self-saucing pudding from the Laurentians in Quebec is laced with maple syrup and is a perfect winter dessert served with a bit of table cream. When my son Mark’s in-laws were visiting from Kyoto, Japan, I added extra syrup and made it in a casserole then inverted it onto a big glass plate to let the sauce ooze down over the warm pudding. You can add nuts or almost any other dried fruit to the batter to make it your own. The translation is “Lazy Cooks Pudding” and in fact, it is very, very easy to make.
- 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour
- 2 tsps (10 mL) baking powder
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) milk
- ¼ cup (60 mL) melted butter
- ¾ cup (175 mL) maple syrup
- ¾ cup (175 mL) brown sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- ¼ cup (60 mL) butter
- 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla or maple extract
In a bowl, stir or sift together the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the milk and melted butter, stirring to make a thick batter. Transfer to a lightly-oiled 8 cup (2 L) glass casserole.
To make the sauce, in a saucepan stir together the maple syrup, brown sugar, water, butter and vanilla or maple extract. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the pudding base. Bake in a preheated 350’F (180’C) oven for 35 – 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden.
From Anita Stewart’s CANADA: The Food, The Recipes, The Stories (Harper Collins Canada 2008/2014)