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Pouding Chômeur - Food Gypsy

Pouding Chômeur – Classic Québécoise

There’s something delightfully tongue-in-cheek about posting a recipe for Pouding Chômeur on St. Jean Baptiste Day from our home in Quebec. Even more so when I tell you that, after seven years of living in ‘la belle province’, I am (ever so slowly) learning French, thanks to Emploi Quebec.

I now dream in French and butcher the language almost daily by pronouncing silent letters and referring to objects in the wrong tense.  (Why is a chair feminine? Merde!) 


A Poor Man’s Pudding

Literally translated ‘Pouding Chômeur’ means ‘Unemployed Man’s Pudding’.  A go-to recipe when money was tight and bellies were empty, it was first published in a magazine in the 1930’s.  Borrowing from Anglo traditions, it had humble beginnings.  Just a simple sauce cake, made with brown sugar and water.

Like many recipes born of poverty and necessity, Pouding Chômeur has gone bougie, thanks to the influence of chefs like Montreal’s Martin Picard and the Food Network’s Ricardo.  Now rather than brown sugar and water we slurp up a caramel of cream and maple syrup and trust me when I say ‘it ain’t’ cheap!’

Sweet Syrup Beginnings

Paola at Edgar, Food Gypsy


My first taste of Pouding Chômeur came from a little closer to home than Picard’s Le Pied du Cochon. It was a shared bite over brunch with a good friend at the table of another Quebec-born chef, Marysol Foucault of Edgar, just down the street. It had been ages since I’d been so well-fed, and in such good company.  As Marysol re-opens after expansions, renovations AND a new baby (good GOD woman, do you ever sleep?!) – I thank her for the inspiration and wish her much more joy to come!

Humility Tastes Sweet

Sweet and satisfying, I was hooked. Frankly, I love a saucy cake!  So I did a bit of tweaking and came up with a recipe unique to my own modest upbringing. First I borrowed from an old family recipe – Grandma Jones’ Deep Plum Pudding – for the cake base.  Then added an egg, and some butter (hello, have you MET me?!~) and smothered it in a Picard-inspired maple-cream caramel.



Maple Syrup For The Win

As Pouding Chômeur bakes, the cake bubbles up through the hot maple syrup to form a sweet, crisp crust. The maple caramel thickens and becomes a smooth and rich sauce. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or plain heavy cream to cut the sweetness. Huge hit with the kids. Super simple. Kinda’ sticky… in a good way.

Live, love, EAT WELL!

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Pouding Chômeur - Food Gypsy

Pouding Chômeur – Classic Québécoise

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  • Author: Cori Horton
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Literally translated ‘Pouding Chômeur’ means ‘Unemployed Man’s Pudding’. Sweet and satisfying, it comes from humble beginnings, when money was tight and bellies were empty. A fresh take on an old classic for a taste of true Canadiana!


  • • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • • 1/2 cup sugar
  • • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • • 1/2 cup milk
  • • 1 egg
  • • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ***********************************
  • • 2 cups maple syrup
  • • 2 cups heavy cream
  • • non-stick spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Coat an eight cup baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Add dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add butter, milk, the egg and vanilla and fold with a spatula until mixed well. Potion into six servings with a spoon or ice-cream scoop and drop side-by-side into prepared pan.
  3. Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, add cream and maple syrup and mix lightly with a whisk. Continue to stir as needed over medium-high heat until boiling. Then boil hard for two minutes and pour immediately over pudding batter. DO NOT MIX.
  4. Bake at 350F for 50 – 60 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and serve, warm.


Gypsy Note: Never turn your back on boiling cream or, in this case, boling cream and maple syrup. Because the MINUTE you do… it will boil over for SURE.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Québécoise

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Cori Horton

Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.

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