This is by far my favourite and it is all three of my kid's favourite maple-inspired recipe. The Chômeur or Poor Man's Pudding is an old Quebecois recipe. It is unbelievable and I prepare it often and take as my contribution to many parties and social gatherings. I watch as my friends' eyes roll into the back of their heads.
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
2 cups (500 mL) milk
1 cup (250 mL) pure maple syrup
1 cup (250 mL) water
1 cup (250 mL) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Creme fraiche or ice cream
For cake, in mixing bowl using electric mixer on high, beat butter and sugar until smooth.
In separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder. In three additions with mixer on low speed, beat into butter mixture, alternating with milk.
Spread batter into greased 10- by 12-inch (25- by 30-cm) cake pan or 9- by 13-inch (22.5- by 32.5-cm) baking dish.
For syrup, in small saucepan, combine maple syrup, water, sugar and butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until mixture starts to simmer. Simmer 2 minutes. Pour over batter.
Bake in preheated 325F (160C) oven until batter puffs, syrup bubbles around edges, and toothpick inserted in centre of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Serve pudding in bowls, topping with excess sauce and ice cream, if desired. (Serve leftovers slightly warmed or at room temperature.)
Makes about 12 servings.
Today, pudding chômeur is casually served as a regional dessert, perhaps being a bit more popular during the saison des sucres, when maple sap is collected and processed and is usually part of the offerings during a meal at a sugar shack even though it's not specifically a maple dessert.