We are very fortunate to live about an hour away from Quebec and to a world of incredible gastronomy, from the global cuisine of Montreal, to the traditional French bistros just over the border in Sutton. Quebec has its well-known specialties such as poutine, that naughty-sounding dish consisting of fries covered in gravy and topped with cheese curds. But there are a few dishes that are rarely seen outside of the province which deserve greater recognition and this is one.
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 (see recipe for Debbie’s Rag Muffins) 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.
I have seen several versions of this recipe and they all call for a great deal of maple syrup. In the interest of economy, I reduced the amount and found it was just as rich. If you feel the need to be authentic go ahead and use more maple caramel but be careful not to fill the ramekins too high because the syrup will overflow when the biscuit cooks. I also couldn’t resist using the French spelling of ‘pudding’ in the recipe below; pronouncing it with the ‘ou’ forces a bit of French inflection and you will find the dessert will taste better for it.