Sweet Relief: Anne Yarymowich’s maple-apple-caramel concoction

Sweet Relief: Anne Yarymowich’s maple-apple-caramel concoction

Anne Yarymowich’s maple-apple-caramel concoction takes the cake

(Photograph: Edward Pond; Illustration by Jack Dylan) 

“At Frank, when we send a dish out from the kitchen, I want it to elicit ‘mmms’ rather than ‘wows’—I want it to be comforting, not complicated. Our pouding chômeur, which loosely translates as ‘poor man’s pudding,’ is the perfect example. It’s a French-Canadian dessert that dates from a time when maple syrup was cheaper than sugar. I first tasted it when one of our banquet managers, who’s from Gatineau, brought it to a staff potluck; I knew right then it had to go on the menu. We developed a few different versions, but the best was a sort of hybrid of pouding chômeur and tarte tatin. It’s a beautiful marriage.”

Caramelized Apples
Softened butter for greasing
2 Cortland or Paula Red apples
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp table salt
1 cup milk
Maple syrup and whipped cream for serving

1. Generously butter base and sides of eight ¾-cup ramekins; put on a baking sheet and set aside. Peel, core and slice apples into eighths. Set aside.
2. Sprinkle sugar over base of a heavy, 8-inch stainless-steel skillet. (Use a light-coloured skillet so you can see sugar changing colour.) Add ¼ cup water.
3. Cook over high heat, occasionally swirling skillet gently, until sugar has dissolved and liquid is clear, about 2 minutes (do not stir). Reduce heat to medium and cook, swirling skillet occasionally and brushing sugar crystals from sides of skillet with
a damp pastry brush, until caramel is golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Remove skillet from heat. Standing back in case it spatters, add maple syrup and butter, swirling skillet until butter melts.
5. Add apples to skillet and return to medium heat. Cook, shaking skillet occasionally and turning apples once or twice until they’re tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
6. Spoon caramel into ramekins, dividing evenly. Divide apples among ramekins, arranging them rounded side down. Set aside.
7. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, cream sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is well incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Fold flour into creamed mixture alternately with milk, making 4 additions of flour and 3 of milk and beginning and ending with flour, until well combined. (Batter may look curdled.)
8. Spoon batter over apples, dividing evenly. Bake in a 350° F oven until puddings are golden and a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
9. Let stand for 5 minutes, then run a knife around edge of each ramekin and turn out puddings onto individual plates. If apples and syrup stick to bottom of ramekins, spoon them out on top of puddings. Serve warm with maple syrup and whipped cream. Garnish with brittle if desired.
Makes 8 servings.


2 cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp table salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ tsp baking soda


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1. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large, heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved, 5 to 7 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Boil, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 300° F, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove saucepan from heat. Add walnuts, butter and baking soda (mixture will bubble up). Stir until butter has melted.
4. Pour caramel onto prepared baking sheets. Set aside to harden, then break into jagged pieces.