Pied de Cochon

Longwinded Blueberry Cake

Looking for one of Bonnie Stern’s recipes this morning, to tell you how I adapted it to deal with my overzealous blueberry shopping, I found the recipe below, which was published in the National Post.  It isn’t what I was looking for, but I can’t resist posting it.  Reading it, I am thinking it will be an apple pudding chomeur.  I am LOVING summer, but if fall means apples, it won’t be all bad.

This is an old-fashioned pudding cake made with apples and maple syrup.  You can also make this in individual ramekins.

photo reposted from theNational Post

photo re-posted from the National Post

1⁄2 cup sugar
2 tbs water
3⁄4 cup maple syrup
3 tbs unsalted butter
6 apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
3⁄4 cup sugar
2  eggs
1 tbs vanilla paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1⁄4 tsp kosher salt
3⁄4 cup buttermilk

Vanilla ice cream, and maple syrup.

Stir sugar and water together in a deep skillet. Bring to a boil and, without stirring, cook until sugar turns golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Standing back, add maple syrup and butter. Mixture will bubble up a bit.  Add apple slices and cook gently about 10 minutes until tender. Cool.

For the cake, cream butter and sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add mixture alternatively to batter with buttermilk to make a batter.

Place apple mixture in the bottom of a 9-inch baking dish. Spread cooled apple mixture with batter.

Bake in preheated 350F oven until firm in the centre, about 30 to 40 minutes until centre of cake is cooked.

Serve with ice cream and maple syrup.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Now, just for reference, here is the recipe for the best Pouding Chômeur (unemployment pudding), anywhere.

It is from Pied de Cochon, of course (adapted a bit by, and from, House and Home Magazine). This makes 6 individual ramekins, or you can make it in a casserole (may need a touch longer in the oven)

Can you smell it?

Can you smell it?

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup whipping cream (35%)
pinch of salt1 cup (Quebec of course) maple syrup – do NOT use light, clear, or heaven forbid maple-flavoured syrup!

Vanilla ice cream to serve – optional, but if you are going down, go in flames…

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars, and blend until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until completely incorporated.

Add flour and baking powder, and stir until dough is well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This is the dough part.

In a saucepan, bring syrup and cream to a boil, stirring often. As soon as it reaches a boil, remove from heat, add salt and let cool until tepid, then refrigerate for 1 hour. This is the syrup mixture.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Place 6 oven safe, 5 oz. ramekins on a foil lined baking sheet and spoon a some of the cooled maple syrup mixture into the bottom of each. Divide dough evenly among ramekins by loosely packed tablespoons. Slowly pour remaining maple mixture over dough. It will sink into the nooks and crannies.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Let it cool for a few minutes, and then serve!

Top with ice cream at the table if you want it to look really great.


After making blueberry sauce for our morning oatmeal, and not having the heart to tackle another round of jam making after doing strawberry this week, I decided to go to my trusty Bonnie Stern HeartSmart Quick Apple Cake recipe.  Here it is, with the apple OR blueberry option. Bonnie’s recipe calls for half the batter, but I find it better when it is doubled. I have taken the liberty of doubling the batter in the recipe below.

I also use the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture as a drizzle instead of tossing it with the fruit.

Quick Apple (or blueberry) Cake (my way)

2 eggs (or 1 egg plus 2 whites)
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canola oil (I use a bit less and make up with orange juice)
6 tbs. OR orange juice

Note: Bonnie uses apple juice, but I like the freshness that orange offers. 6 tbs. is 3/8 of a cup, so I use ½ cup and reduce the oil. Not exact, but it is fast.
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt

3 apples, peeled and sliced thinly OR 3 (or so) cups of blueberries, tossed in flour or cornstarch


1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

This is the only part that I haven’t doubled. I find it enough, but double as you like.

In a large(ish) bowl, beat eggs with sugar until thick and light. Beat in oil, juice and vanilla.
In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into egg mixture and combine only until blended.
Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and enough water to make a pourable drizzle. Set aside.
Arrange apples in bottom of oiled 9″ square baking dish. Smooth batter on top.  I sometimes make 2 layers, but the layers are pretty thin.

Drizzle the top with the brown sugar mixture.
Bake in preheated 350F/180C oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake comes away from sides of pan slightly and a cake tester comes out clean.

If you choose to use blueberries, it will take a bit longer to bake.  Check that the middle is baked. It won’t over-bake easily with blueberries because the juice keeps it moist.

Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

This cake looks best when served from the pan, rather than inverting it onto a serving plate.  The drizzle also stays nicely crunchy that way.


Gluttony, but the good kind.

Passion.  It is something that is contagious, and hard to fake. In the food business, I understand how easy it must be to get jaded. But really, the difference between going out for a meal and having a great night out boils down to mojo.  I’m not sure why Montreal has so many passionate chefs, but I’M NOT COMPLAINING! After prepping of a few days eating lettuce and cottage cheese, I recently had the pleasure of spending a few gluttonous hours at Martin Picard’s Sugar Shack, which this fall is offering an apple menu. While I must admit there were a few dishes that weren’t particularly apple-y, everything was, as expected, fabulous. Cream of squash au gratin, garnished with apples and Amaretti cookies,

Cured ham from the “Cabane PDC” and headcheese (photo required to even TRY to explain that one),

Curdled goat yogurt with honeycomb and foie gras shavings on toast, Ravioli stuffed with chicken livers, cavatelli apple sauce accompanied by a foie gras confit, Salmon “en papillotte” (in newspaper) with snails and apple cider sauce ( that I thought was actually and disappointingly not as great as it could have been), apple glazed beef roast, eggplant crepes, warm oysters, hazelnut broccoli (addictive) and lettuce salad (why bother you ask? No, it was really good)…followed by Apple Pie (incredible crust), Soft ice cream and apple sorbet, apple and plum sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce, and, in case anyone could still breathe, chocolate and apple soufflé.