This week we have a holiday gift for Lucille Blanchette, who was searching for a recipe for Pudding Chomeur published years ago by Manitoba Hydro. Many kind readers wrote in with recipes, variously called Unemployment Pudding, Depression Pudding and Poor Man's Pudding (thanks to Diane Wiebe, Mary Ann Beaulne, Berni Harley and Marie Waldron), but Lucille was holding out for the Hydro version. It took some digging, but Glenn Schneider, division manager of public affairs at Hydro, and his staff somehow managed to find the original for Lucille.
Thanks also to Shelly Zulak-Labay for answering Darlene Hendler's call for the peanut soup served at McNally-Robinson's Prairie Ink café, and to Pat Cohen and Linda Snider, who sent in their own versions.
This week Annette Cochrane is hoping an avid recipe clipper might have saved a Free Press recipe from the 1980s called Last Minute Festive Fruitcake. It contained raisins and canned peaches.
If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to email@example.com, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.
Prairie Ink's West African Peanut Soup (adapted from Ciao! magazine)
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
175 ml (3/4 cup) diced carrots
175 ml (3/4 cup) diced celery, with leaves
2 medium onions, diced
750 ml (3 cups) sweet potatoes or yams, chopped
Approx. 3 L (12 cups) water
500 ml (2 cups) smooth peanut butter
1x398 ml can (14 oz) whole tomatoes, with juice
15 ml (1 tbsp) kosher salt
2 ml (1/2 tsp) cayenne, or to taste
In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, sauté carrots, celery and onion in oil for 3-5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add potatoes and cover vegetables with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add peanut butter and tomatoes and purée with a stick blender or in a food processor. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
Tester's notes: I didn't puree the soup completely, leaving a few vegetables chunks for contrast. This is a wonderfully creamy soup with no dairy, making it a good choice for vegans or people with lactose issues.
Pudding au Chômeur (Old Quebec Maple Syrup Pudding)
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) real maple syrup
175 ml (3/4 cup) water
10 ml (2 tsp) butter
15 ml (1 tbsp) shortening
125 ml (1/2 cup) white sugar
1 egg, beaten
250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour
7 ml (11/2 tsp) baking powder
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
75 ml (1/3 cup) whole milk
250 ml (1 cup) sweetened dried coconut
Combine maple syrup and water in small saucepan. Bring to boil, remove from heat and add butter. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 175C (350F). Grease 20x20 cm (8x8-inch) baking pan. In a medium bowl, combine cream shortening and sugar and add beaten egg. Mix well. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. To shortening mixture, add dry ingredients alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Beat batter until smooth. Spread batter in prepared pan, pour maple sauce carefully over batter and top with coconut. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Tester's notes: This is one of those magical desserts that flips itself over while baking, so that you end up with a rich maple sauce covered with cake and a crisp golden crust of coconut. Delicious, though the name might be misleading these days: This might be a poor man's pudding if you have a sugar shack in the Quebec bush, but maple syrup is pretty pricey at your local supermarket.