Maple-Pear Pudding Cake (Pouding Chômeur)

Chef Gail Simmons (Top Chef) shares the recipe for her Maple-Pear Pudding Cake. Learn how to make this decadent dessert at home, and pick up Gail’s cookbook Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes From a Life of Adventurous Eating on Amazon.

Maple-Pear Pudding Cake (Pouding Chômeur)
Serves 6


7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 firm-ripe Bosc or other good baking pear, cored and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, divided
3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pears and sauce
1 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream, crème fraîche, or sour cream, for serving


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the upper third.

2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add the pear slices, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup, cream, a pinch of salt, and water just to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture (the batter will be very thick).

5. Pour about 1/3 cup of the syrup mixture into a deep 2-quart gratin or 8-inch square baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Dollop the batter on top in about five 1/4-cupfuls, spacing the mounds evenly over the syrup. Arrange the slice pears on top of the mounds and drizzle with any juices from the skillet, then pour the remaining syrup mixture over the top.

6. Bake until the cake is just golden but still syrupy, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm, spooned into bowls with ice cream, crème fraîche, or sour cream on top, if desired.

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