March 10, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday Recipe: Maple Syrup and Apple Bread Pudding topped with Sugared Apples

Maple syrup is for many Canadians the most iconic food in our collective culinary repertoire. Glistening like polished amber, real maple syrup, tapped during the last weeks of winter and boiled into one of nature’s finest sweet offerings, is a taste that instantly makes us glow with national pride.

Generally it is between February and April when maple syrup is harvested in Ontario, and though I won’t be tapping any trees myself this year (as fun as I’ve always imagined doing so would be), when maple syrup season rolls around, I – as if almost by instinct – am drawn to dishes (both sweet and savoury) – that include this home-grown ingredient.

This recipe, which I first discovered many years ago (I’m inclined to say in an old copy of Canadian Living magazine, but am not entirely certain of that) is sometimes known by its French name “Pouding Au Pain À l‘Érable”, which I rather enjoy using (doesn’t any dish sound lovelier when its name is spoken in French?) – and most definitely relish eating, no matter what it’s called!

{One of the lovely things about most brands of genuine maple syrup is that it still comes packaged in charming glass bottles, just like the one in this 1950s advertisement for Log Cabin maple syrup, a brand that it still on the market today. Image via Jackie121467’s Flickr stream .}

A simple, uncomplicated recipe (which is vegetarian and can be made vegan if you opt to use vegan margarine in place of butter or non-vegan margarine) with soothing flavours, this dish can easily be jazzed up further with the inclusion of a hit of apple brandy, some chopped nuts, cinnamon, or your favourite dried fruit. I’ve served it piping hot, cold from the fridge, and perhaps my favourite, at room temperature (call me odd, but I really like my bread and rice puddings at room temperature). It’s scrumptious, comforting and very morish, whether eaten toasty or chilly.

The apples you put to work here can be any baking variety that you like. I lean towards Cortland, Macintosh, Red Delicious, Liberty or Spartan, but the choice is entirely up to you. If you wanted to take this recipe is a slightly more tart direction, you could use Granny Smith or Greensleeves and introduce a whisper of lemon or orange peel into the mixture before popping it in the oven.

Serve this tasty dish for breakfast, brunch, dessert or even with afternoon tea, paired, should you fancy, with whipped cream, clotted cream swirled with a little maple syrup, or a dollop of cinnamon or vanilla ice cream.

Maple Syrup and Apple Bread Pudding topped with Sugared Apples


-1 cup fresh bread crumbs (I like to use day old French or sourdough bread with the crust removed)

-4 cup peeled, cored and chopped apples

-2 apples, peeled or un-peeled (as you like), sliced (note: you will need six apples in total for this recipe)

-1/2 cup real maple syrup (this is not the time for imitation maple syrup!)

-1/2 tsp salt

-1 cup of water

-1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

-Approx. 1/2 cup white sugar

-2 tbsp light brown or muscovado sugar

-3 tbsp (unsalted) butter or margarine


Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C/gas mark 4).

In a large mixing bowl combine the fresh breadcrumbs, chopped apples and salt. Place these ingredients in a buttered baking dish (I generally use an 8x8 or 10x10 inch dish for this recipe, but a similarly sized oval or rectangular dish could be used, too), and set aside for the time being.

In small sauce pan, heat the maple syrup and water over high heat just until it comes to a boil (you don’t want it to caramelize). Remove from heat and pour over the apple and bread crumb mixture. Sprinkle dried bread crumbs evenly over top, and then set aside for a moment more.

Combine the white and brown sugars in a shallow dish or plate and then dredge the apple slices (from the two apples that you sliced, not the chopped ones which went into the fresh bread crumb mixture) through the mixture, coating each side (add a little more sugar to the dish, if needed). Place the sugared apple slices evenly atop the bread pudding, and then dot the top of the pudding with small pieces of butter or margarine.

Place baking dish in the oven, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until the apples feel tender when pierced with a skewer (or fork) and the top of the pudding has taken on a pleasingly, pale golden hue.

Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving this soft, fragrant, wonderfully Canadian pudding. Saying "dessert is ready, eh!" when you bring it to the table is entirely optional :D

Serves 4 to 6

Bon appétit!


  1. I'm going to a Maple festival this weekend! My first one. SO excited and will hopefully try your wonderful recipe!!!

  2. Oh, YUMMY! This looks fabulous, Jessica! I love recipes with maple--one of my very favorite things! Thanks for sharing this.

    Hope you're doing well & having a beautiful day!

  3. Ironically, I just learned how to make maple syrup first-hand last Sunday. We spent the day outdoors, lugging milk jugs full of sugar maple sap and boiling, boiling, boiling it on a homemade furnace contraption. It was a blast, even though it took forever to do. I'm hoping to go back this weekend so we can get a taste of our final product! :)

  4. Hi Jessica- this looks SOOOOOO good this time of year...tfs..LOVE keeping up with you...

  5. Now i want waffles after seeing that ad!