Steamed Maple Puddings

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Ok, here’s the story. I was so seduced by the photo of steamed maple pudding in Donna Hay’s gorgeous book The New Classics that I had to make it, had to share the recipe with you. I LOVE maple syrup and I LOVE pudding, so the combination seemed winning.

What wasn’t winning, however, was the time I spent running around kitchen stores looking for the right ramekins, the way my puddings didn’t slip cleanly out of those ramekins like Donna’s but were raggedy around the edges, and the way the maple syrup sauce did not run down the sides of the puddings in an enticing way but sunk right into the cake batter. And finally, I whipped the cream a little too hard, so it sits atop each pudding like a hat rather than relaxing downwards, all creamy and luscious. Some days things don’t go the way you want them to, but no big deal, let’s just accept that my puddings and my photos are nowhere near as beautiful as Donna Hay’s. The puddings are delicious, though, and I will make them again.

This recipe is a version of pouding chôumeur, the “unemployed man’s pudding” that you find all over the province of Quebec, where three-quarters of the world’s maple syrup is produced. The cake is soft and delicate, light as air, and infused with the lovely sweet maple syrup sauce. I can’t think of a more comforting dessert served warm on a cold day.

I’m not sharing my trials and tribulations with you to discourage you from trying this recipe. Au contraire, I’m saving you the trouble of fussing with ramekins, and pointing out other pitfalls, so that making it will be stress-free. Please note that you want the standard, one-cup, straight-sided ramekins that are usually available in decent kitchen supply stores and cost less than $5 each. Or you can do away with ramekins altogether and make one big pudding in an 8-inch square glass baking dish, scooping out individual portions.

I’m also lowering your expectations of perfection, so that if your end result does not match the pretty pictures, you will chalk it up, in a cheerful, who-gives-a-darn-kind-of way, to life being like that. Certainly Donna Hay won’t hold it against you.

Steamed Maple Puddings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (250 mL) maple syrup
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipping cream to serve
  • 150 g (2/3 cup, about 11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup (150 g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (350 degrees F). Place the maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil for 7-9 minutes or until thickened. Pour into 6 x 1 cup-capacity (250 mL) lightly greased ramekins, or a greased 8-inch square baking dish, and refrigerate.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric beater, cream butter and sugar until smooth, then add eggs and vanilla. Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture alternately with the milk until well combined. Divide the mixture between the ramekins.
  3. Place the puddings in a deep-sided baking dish and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  4. Cover tightly with lightly greased aluminium foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the puddings are springy to the touch. Remove puddings from the water bath and invert onto plates. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or lightly-whipped cream.
  • Serves: 6

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