Ma Mère’s Maple Fudge – Sucre à la Crème

Though I may be Canadian in the most general of definitions, I, like many other Canadians also identify with the cultural pieces of my heritage. My grandparent’s families made the long journey to this country and settled into Saskatchewan, where they merged their cultures together to form one Canadian identity. Each cultural influence has had an important part in shaping me as I am today, the same way it has such an important part in shaping Canada as it is today. I never think of myself (or Canada) as having one static culture, but more as a fluid culture that has a life of it’s own. Like Canada. I love that we are all so alike in our differences, I find it unifying.

Using food as a medium, I have explored my German background, added to my genetic history by my Grandpa Leaderhouse and reinforced by my Herzog grandparents who entered my life much later on. It was through them that I became exposed to a bit more German cuisine and culture (we’re talking sausage making, sauerkraut, pork hocks, and spaetzle). My paternal Grandmother, Grandma Leaderhouse was of pure Hungarian descent. She retained a wonderful accent throughout her entire life, even though she had been born in Canada and eventually lost the ability to speak Hungarian. She passed her love of bacon to me (Hungarians love their bacon and smoked sausages) and I remember her making poppy seed rolls, but never anything more ‘Hungarian’ than that. It makes me sad, that cultural part of my past remains lost and I would love to learn more about it in the future.

I am, genetically speaking, half ‘French Canadian’ and it’s the part of my cultural heritage that I know the most about. My grandma Lajeunesse’s (nee Ruel) family lived in the Saskatchewan French settlement of Debden, where she met my grandfather. She spoke only French until their children began attending an English school (it is odd that there was only an English school in a French settlement…) and now, at 92 years of age, she speaks a quaint mixture of ‘Frenglish’. By the way, she’s not your average ‘sweet’ granny. She’s 4 feet 9 inches of dynamite and she makes me laugh all the time. Her cooking has probably made the most cultural impact in my life because it was through her (and my mother) that I experienced Tourtierefarlouche (sugar and raisin pie), Tire sur la neige, baked beans, and maple fudge. There are quite a few of us cousins on the French side of the family and we were all taught the ‘Frenglish’ version of grandmère, which has been reduced to ma mère. So, even though I know that ma mère means ‘my mother’, I use it to refer to my French grandmother.

This recipe for Maple Fudge has been passed down for generations. It is second in popularity only to ma mère’s homemade doughnuts at family gatherings. Being from Saskatchewan, maple syrup was too dear to be included in a recipe in such vast quantities. Instead, maple flavouring was used. Here is the original recipe as copied from our family cookbook with the maple flavouring. I wanted to return the recipe to it’s true Québecois roots, so my corrections are listed at the end of the recipe. Ma mère is getting up there in age, so she doesn’t make the doughnuts or fudge any longer. It’s time for us grandchildren to carry on the tradition!


Maple Fudge – Sucre à la Crème

Ingredients

  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp margarine (or butter)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • maple flavouring
  • chopped walnuts (optional)

Method

  1. Mix the first five ingredients together in a saucepan. Boil until the mixture reaches ‘soft ball’ stage.
  2. Remove from heat, place saucepan in cold water, and beat until creamy.
  3. Add flavouring and nuts.
  4. Pour into a greased pan, let cool until just barely warm then slice into squares.

NOTE: Here are my alterations to the ingredients… I added the first six ingredients and cooked to the soft ball stage, then I transferred it to a stand mixer bowl and let it cool a bit. I started the mixer slowly at first (this is hot sugar!), then beat it at high speed until it became creamy. Add the nuts and beat them into the fudge then pour out into the prepared pan.

  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 3 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

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This entry was posted by dishnthekitchen.

8 thoughts on “Ma Mère’s Maple Fudge – Sucre à la Crème

  1. This is lovely, Bernice ! I like both recipes ! We are so lucky to have a grandmother and/or a mother that knows how to cook. Old recipes that are passed from generation to generation are the best. Thanks for sharing !

    • For sure…I wish there was more though. I think sometimes that immigrants went through a sort of ‘Canadianization’ phase where important cultural influences faded in order to be more ‘Canadian’. Kind of ironic. It’s up to me to bring some heritage dishes back!

  2. I loved this post so much, Bernice! I can relate to what you write about also being French Canadian and experiencing making the same dishes you mentioned with my grandmother, known as M é m é and my mother, known as ‘Little Mom’ at 4ft, 6″ – lol). Thank you for the memories and this great recipe.

  3. Love the Maple fudge, the traditional recipe and family history, but most of all, love your grandma!! She’s adorable and reminds me of my grandma who was also 4ft 9ins of a firecracker!! Great post and recipe Bernice, and I am saving this one to try soon. Fab photos too!!

    • Thanks Ginni. My parents are coming this weekend for Erin’s Bridal Shower (Zack’s fiancee) and I was so hoping she would jump in the car with my parents this weekend, but I think she knows that she just can’t handle a 10 hour drive anymore. She just moved into a home in the fall and I think it has made her slow down and feel old.
      I hear you’re getting more snow over East…that sucks. I hope you get spring SOON!!

  4. I love the way you’re exploring your heritage, and your Canadian-ness. I have to agree with you – very few of us in Canada have a static ‘Canadian’ culture or identity, though it’s the strange, mixed together histories that tend to define us as individuals and Canadians. All but one of my grandparents were born in Canada, and though my parents grew up in Quebec, they were anglos (though my grandmother was Acadian). Because of that, my French heritage cuisine is mostly centered around tourtiere and a strange affection for Jos Louis cakes. In any case, it’s fun to explore and to dig deeper to examine the roots of our own family trees. Cheers.

    • Joe Louis cakes? well that’s random…You know I kind of feel like my grandparents generation was intent on ‘blending in’ a bit more. I’m sure there are so many other dishes and traditions that got lost along the way. I’m looking forward to finding them out.

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