Pouding au Chomuer
Recipes from my Child hood;
When I was growing up we were strongly influenced by two cultures, the Acadian and Quebecois. The Acadian because it was so prevalent in Northern New Brunswick and Quebecois because we lived so close to the boarder.
Many of my childhood memories are directly related to food and how it brought us together as a family. My grandmother often had dinners at her home and the dessert was almost always the same. Pouding au Chomeur. The reason I mention the two cultural influences is because pudding au chomeur was widely adopted by the Acadians but is originally from Quebec where it was invented by female factory workers during the great depression. It is a simple dish with basic ingredients usually found in the pantry which suited most of the working class families because there was little or no money to buy “fancy” ingredients. In case your French is a little rusty pouding au chomeur translates to pudding of the unemployed or pudding of the poor!
The dessert was originally made by placing liquid consisting of maple syrup, brown sugar and water in the bottom of a baking dish and dropping dough on top although if times were especially tough stale bread could be used as well. The liquid comes up over the sides of the dough and forms a lovely caramel on top and bottom. In Edmundston we made the dessert without the maple syrup, which was not a staple in the poor pantries of the area! I prefer eating the pudding with vanilla ice cream but a dollop of whipped cream is nice as well.
In October of last year I had the immense pleasure of joining a delegation of Acadians on a ten day trip to Louisiana to celebrate Le Grand Derangement, a festival commemorating the arrival of the Acadians to that region after their expulsion from Nova Scotia. One of the highlights was “L’Ordre du Bon Temps”, or an “order of good times” which was a dinner highlighting Acadian fare. It was my extreme honour to provide the dessert course so we prepared pouding au chomeur for 500!
One of the personal highlights for me, besides cooking in some of Louisiana’s top kitchens, was going alligator hunting and watching young children hunting squirrels along the bayou, the squirrels were the size of small cats and they were going to be turned into stew for the evening meal! The alligator was delicious and the stew had its merits. A chef can draw inspiration everywhere but rest assured, I won’t be sharing recipes in this column for alligator pie any time soon!
Pouding au Chomeur
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp butter
½ tsp vanilla
Incorporate all the ingredients in a saucepan over med heat until a light syrup forms, about 5 or 6 minutes, then pour in an 8X8 glass casserole.
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup white sugar
¾ cup of milk
Incorporate all ingredients until well mixed then pour on top of the syrup in the casserole, bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown.