Montreal

Pouding chômeur

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Pouding chômeur from La Binerie Mont-Royal in Montreal, Canada.

What: Pouding chômeur (“pudding show-mer”), which translates as “unemployed pudding” and dates, not surprisingly, to the Great Depression, is a Montréal food that exemplifies the Québécois capability for frugality…and for not mincing words. Made mostly with flour and brown sugar and a few other standard pantry finds—and this included stale bread back in the day, making it more of a bread pudding—this simple, sponge-cake-like classic Montréal dessert is perfect for your average poor man (or anyone) with a sweet tooth.

Where: It’s another dish we love to eat at the counter of the Plateau district’s La Binerie Mont-Royal (367, ave. du Mont-Royal Est, map), an old-school all-day-breakfast and lunch joint, established in 1938, that’s committed to serving homemade regional Québécois food.

When: Mon-Fri, 6:30am-8pm; Sat-Sun, 7:30am-3pm

Order: The pouding chômeur ($2.95), a small spongy square of hot cake—the brown-sugar syrup collects a bit at the bottom—is just one of the super sweet desserts we like here (tarte au sucre is the other). For the full experience, of course, it must follow a decadent lard-rich meal of, say, ragoût de boulettes (meatballs), pâté chinois (shepherd’s pie), and fèves au lard (baked beans with pork fat).

Alternatively: Our friends on chowhound.com also recommend the pouding chômeur at funky café Ma’amm Bolduc (4351-4355, ave. de Lorimier, map), as well as at the St-Hubert rotisserie-chicken (national) chain (multiple locations including 1019, rue Ste-Catherine Est, map), where it’s served with vanilla ice cream. Decidedly more upscale, with the price tag to match, is the pouding chômeur served at Vallier (425, rue McGill, map), where it comes with maple cream.