A light and springy cake flavored with chestnut flour tops silky brown butter coffee maple sauce in this classic Quebecois dessert. An easy-peasy, gluten-free recipe adapted from Maple, by Katie Webster. Plus, a giveaway!
Meet my new favorite dessert: pouding chômeur. This is saying a lot, as I have probably eaten more desserts this past year than most people eat in a lifetime. But still, I cannot keep my hands off of these puddings.
It was love at first site when I saw Carey’s chômeur post about this time last year. It was 10 at night when that tantalizing image popped up in my feed, and although I’d *just* finished cleaning up a lengthy kitchen project, I was tempted to march straight back into that kitchen to make dessert. I didn’t, though, and a whole year went by with nary a chômeur to shove in my face. Basically, the year was a total waste until I pulled these glorious puddings from the oven the other day.
A few weeks ago, a copy of Maple: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup arrived at my door. I could barely contain my excitement for this book because 1) it’s all about my very favorite sweetener, 2) it brims with savory and sweet recipes that use it, and 3) it’s written by maple maven and food stylist/photographer extraordinaire Katie Webster. I’ve been fangirling Katie at Healthy Seasonal Recipes for years. She’s cute as a button, sweet as pie, she makes the most delicious, fuss-free recipes full of whole ingredients, and she’s a veteran food stylist so her photos and recipes are always top-notch. She wrote and shot this entire book herself, and every picture is a stunner, each recipe makes me want to drop what I’m doing and run to the kitchen.
Kaite is also a great person to go drinking with, turns out. When she was in SF a few months ago promoting her book, I stole her away to Abv where she showed up with not one, but two outrageous wigs in tow which she’d just purchased in preparation for a birthday party. The evening ended with a be-wigged Katie posing behind the bar with the bartender, wearing the other wig. All in all, quite a successful evening.
Speaking of drinks, did I mention this book also has booze in it? There are Maple Peach Old Fashioneds, Maple Whiskey Sours, and even Maple Margaritas. There are soups, stews, salads, main dishes, breakfast fare. And of course, there is dessert: cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, and a trio of pudding chômeurs staring up at me from the page. How could I resist?
This time, the chômeurs had their way with me, and I with them. I traded in chestnut flour for the wheat for no other reason than that I like alliteration, and I made the batter gluten-free with some sweet rice and oat flours. I poured a sauce made with maple, coffee and brown butter over the batter and popped those puppies in the oven. And what I pulled out was a sweet that surpassed my greatest dessert hopes and dreams.
Chômeur means unemployed in French, and these puddings came to be during the Great Depression when they were presumably used to bring comfort to out-of-work Quebecois. Which makes this quite a fitting recipe to post on this site. And making these with chestnut flour is also fitting, since, although chestnut flour today carries quite a high price tag (particularly the fresh, organic stuff from Ladd Hill Orchards that I used here), it was often loathed as peasant food used only when more desirable wheat flour couldn’t be had.
Chômeur is also the sound you’ll make when you slip the first bite of these into your mouth – a sort of a muffled, contented purr. Spongey cake tops a warm, silky sauce flavored with vanilla bean brown butter, coffee and loads of maple syrup. Chestnut flour has notes of sweet butter and vanilla, and it pairs beautifully with the flavors here, creating a soft, pillowy cake. I like these best slightly warm and topped with a plume of whipped cream sweetened with just the tiniest bit of maple syrup.
I’m thrilled to have this recipe in my repertoire because, poor man’s food or no, these would make the perfect finale to any dinner party. They’re simple to throw together, they reheat beautifully, and they’re true crowd-pleasers. The maple makes these taste a bit like pancakes or french toast, and hey, they’ve got oat flour in them so that makes them kosher for breakfast, amiright?
And! I’m so pleased to be giving away a copy of Maple along with a 250ml bottle of Tonewood Dark Robust Maple Syrup, straight from Vermont. To enter, leave a note below with your favorite use for maple syrup, and I’ll pick a winner on October 21st.
If you make this, I’d love to see! Tag me on Instagram @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.
- 4 tablespoons (55 g) unsalted butter
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
- ½ cup (120 ml) maple syrup (preferably dark)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) brewed coffee
- ½ cup (50 g) chestnut flour (preferably a mild brand such as Ladd Hill Orchards)
- ¼ cup (35 g) sweet white rice flour
- ¼ cup (25 g) GF oat flour
- 2 teaspoons (9 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) well-shaken, low-fat buttermilk
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) maple syrup (preferably dark)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) mild vegetable oil, such as sunflower
- powdered sugar for sprinkling (optional)
- whipped cream, lightly sweetened with a drop of maple syrup and vanilla extract, for serving (optional)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF (175ºC). Place 8 (4-ounce) oven-proof ramekins or canning jars on a baking sheet and spray them lightly with cooking oil (or brush with a bit of melted butter).
- Place the butter and vanilla pod and scrapings in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, swirling occasionally. After about 3-5 minutes, the butter will foam up, turn golden and smell nutty, with brown flecks mingling with black vanilla bean seeds on the bottom of the pan. At this point, remove the pan from the heat, carefully pour in the maple syrup and coffee, transfer to a measuring pitcher, and set aside.
- To make the batter, sift together the chestnut, sweet rice and oat flours with the baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture, and add the eggs, buttermilk, maple syrup and oil. Whisk until well-combined.
- Pour or scoop the batter into the ramekins, dividing it evenly. Give the sauce a good stir to combine (the butter won't want to emulsify, so you'll want to stir, pour, stir, pour...) and pour it over the batter, dividing it evenly; it will pour through the batter, which is fine.
- Bake the puddings until puffed and golden, with bubbling sauce beneath the cakey bits, 18-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like. Serve the puddings warm, passing whipped cream at the table. The puddings are best when freshly baked, but they keep well, refrigerated airtight, for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350ºF oven until warm for best results.