pouding chômeur recipe

Not Caroline Dumas’ pouding chômeur

Strange sweet tooth | February 22, 2015 | By

This post is a little different than usual, because it’s not about a dangerous food, specifically. But it’s my party and I can veer if I want to. 

There was a very interesting story in the news this week, but you foodies outside of Canada might have missed it. On a French–Canadian radio program, one chef accused another of stealing her recipe for pouding chômeur, which is a traditional French recipe I had never tried. They’ve called the whole thing “chômeur gate.” The uproar was that this was a dish well-known to many Quebecers, so how could Caroline Dumas possibly claim ownership of it? The undertone was silly woman, which I am sensing from many news stories I’ve been seeing lately, and I’m not liking it (think anti-vaxers, who of course I strongly disagree with, but I also disagree with the silly housewife undertones).

Anyway, in this case I thought I disagreed with Caroline’s accusation, because plagiarism in cooking is an idea I’ve often struggled with myself. Like, how can someone claim ownership of fettuccini alfredo? Sure, the idea of combining butter, cream, and parm and adding it to pasta probably originated with someone, but now? It’s kind of one of those “public domain” things. Enter Taylor Swift and her trademark of “this sick beat” and “Nice to meet you. Where you been?” Because I typed that, do I have to pay her now? Silly woman.

But then I listened to this radio interview with a Quebecoise food writer, and I was really glad I did, because she said that Caroline Dumas was right. She said that a public radio show may not have been the best place to air her frustration, but that her version of pouding chômeur turned a crappy old recipe into a decadent one. She said that it is becoming common practice in Quebec especially but also elsewhere to publish a recipe as one’s own when the creativity belongs somewhere else, the chef just tweaking one or two ingredients. And you know what? Cooking takes creativity, and being a stellar chef means being innovative, not just being a great curator of recipes. And chefs don’t even care if you make their recipes a hundred times, just as long as they get credit, which I think is pretty generous already. Me, I pride myself on being a strong curator (and I credit the recipe) but when I do come up with something myself, I’m extra proud that it’s mine. Caroline has a right to be pissed that her recipe, completely identical to the one on Danny St–Pierre’s website, as far as I can tell with my broken french, was passed off as his. Apparently before she came along, the topping traditionally used brown sugar and water, while hers blends heavy cream with maple syrup. Can I get a hell yeah?

So last night, I just had to bake pouding chômeur. But it’s my recipe, of course. I had no framboises (raspberries) so it is absolutely nothing like Caroline Dumas’. (Painstakingly translated in Babelfish and paraphrased pour vous)

Not Caroline Dumas’ pouding chômeur

  • 2C real maple syrup
  • 2C 35% cream
  • 1/2C butter, room temperature
  • 1C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2C flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2C milk

Preheat oven to 400. In a heavy saucepan, combine maple syrup and cream, and bring to a boil. Simmer 3-4 minutes and remove from heat. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar, adding the eggs one-at-a-time. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and add these to the egg mixture, alternating with milk. Spoon batter into a 13×9 pan or individual dishes and pour syrup mixture over (this part freaked me out a bit, because the batter kind of floats around and does odd things, but it still worked).

maple syrup bath recipe

 

 

Bake for about 30 minutes, until cake is firm to the touch. The cake will rise and sit in a delicious bath of syrup.

pouding chômeur recipe

Results

pouding chômeur recipe

I’ve been eating this cake all day. When the syrup gets cold in the fridge it turns into a maple icing that hugs the cake. You can bet I’m going to eat the entire rest of the damn thing. Thanks, Caroline Dumas, for ruining my waistline. I mean, my pouding chômeur ruined my…

Question: What’s your best original recipe?

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Christina
    February 23, 2015

    I have always wondered where copyrights of a recipe start and where they end. I was reading a whole discussion in a site about a cake recipe that didn’t have any baking powder in it (not by mistake) and it was really floppy. Why wouldnt’ the cook that has added 2 teaspons of baking powder claim the success of an otherwise floppy recipe?? Sometimes just a little more salt or some maple syrup transform a recipe from blah (boring to death) to vraiment gourmet! By the way, without the toppings, this is an old time classical recipe for plain cake, here in Greece. Who would claim the rights of the recipe?? Maybe we found a matter of warfare between France and Greece, then!!! Thank you Ann for posting it! It is a true foodie question!!! By the way, many many years ago, while I was creating and writing recipes for a womens’ magazine, some very well known cook-contributor to another magazine stole my photos and my recipe. Unfortunately, nothing has happened!!

  2. Leave a Reply

    Ann Allchin
    February 23, 2015

    Yes, the cake was quite plain — nearly a very fluffy pancake. Who can claim to own a pancake? But with the topping… I might make it again. The difference between a “meh” recipe and a “make again” recipe might deserve a tip of the hat to the creator. And about someone stealing your photos and publication — that’s sneaky! And so, while most people interviewed about this story said that Caroline had chosen the wrong venue to challenge the other chef, I think she was right to do it. If she had sent him a personal e-mail accusation, would anything have ever come of it? Here is an interesting article about food copyright. My favourite line which points to the legal stance (pretty nonexistent) is the following, although I’m not sure I completely agree, as you can tell! “Cooking is not considered inventing; rather, it evolves.” Of course it evolves, but in every field, don’t we credit/compensate the creations/creators that make progress in leaps and bounds? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/03/AR2006010300316.html Thanks as always for your comment!!

  3. Leave a Reply

    Marni
    February 24, 2015

    Interesting. I never thought of copyright and food!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 24, 2015

      Thanks!! I know I’d be annoyed if I were you and someone started claiming your beautiful designs as theirs!

  4. Leave a Reply

    Trish
    February 24, 2015

    It is a tricky thing nowadays how one can take a classic recipe and personalize it, publish it on their site and place their name below the recipe. Have I done this? Totally. But I have never claimed to have invented that recipe completely. Cooking is all about recycling already created dishes…unless you created the cronut or something like that lol. Ann, I’m interested to read that article you posted there…

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 24, 2015

      Thanks! With one mind you can say that there’s only so much you can do with eggs, butter, sugar, milk, and flour, that it’s been done so how can it be claimed. But when someone great in the kitchen does something surprising and new with it…

  5. Leave a Reply

    Aly
    February 24, 2015

    Sometimes I adapt recipes, so I make sure to give credit to the original…often I take a recipe and do all sorts of things to it so that it really is completely different or it is a classic recipe, like fettucine alfredo, and if it is just my riff on a classic, there’s not really anyone in particular to give credit to at this point.

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 25, 2015

      I’m the same. Sometimes I get ideas about an ingredient that might be cool, like in my next-to-last post where someone mixed avocado with goat cheese, but if it’s entirely different otherwise, she’s all mine. And boiled spaghetti is just boiled spaghetti. And not very appetizing. 🙂

  6. Leave a Reply

    Sam
    February 25, 2015

    Nice pics – appreciated! Translation correction: 2 c. à thé de poudre à pâte is 2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder

      • Leave a Reply

        Ann Allchin
        February 25, 2015

        Turns out when I looked, it was really more of a typo than a translation glitch. Somehow I don’t think the recipe would have worked very well for pics with two cups of baking powder. Thanks for the catch!

  7. Leave a Reply

    Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
    February 25, 2015

    I’m of the mind set that recipes, when openly shared (not when locked up in say a Colonel Sanders type of vault) become kind of public domain unless it is entirely a completely new creation. Freely sharing is a must for cooking to thrive and evolve. However, I also understand giving credit where credit is due so I feel conflicted. As a food blogger and former chef I can proudly say that although my ideas sometimes come from other sources, I work really hard to make each dish a personal experience for myself and for my readers. I do my darnedest to make all my burgers & articles unique so I’d hate for someone to just outright plagiarize me and say its their own. I guess in the end I can’t blame her for being miffed at someone passing off an identical copy of her recipe without getting a little courteous tip of the hat.

    As far as your version goes….looks awesome! I’ve been in dessert mode lately, craving it with a coffee after dinner….must be a sign I’m getting old. lol

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 26, 2015

      I have no idea how you have room for dessert after some of your creations! Okay, most of your creations. And you are officially on the hook for a Colonel Sanders burger. 🙂

  8. Leave a Reply

    Stephanie
    March 13, 2015

    I had never heard of pouding chômeu until I read your blog post, but now that I have… I’m totally going to make this! It looks so goooooood!

  9. Leave a Reply

    Old Fat Guy
    April 23, 2015

    I love pouding chomeur and I must try your version. Nice post.

    The Old Fat Guy

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      April 24, 2015

      I feel so honoured that someone named Old Fat Guy would drop by! Love that your silent partner is “She Who Must Be Obeyed.” Hope to hear from you again soon — your blog looks delicious.

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