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Today, it is casually served as a regional dessert, perhaps being a bit more popular during the saison des sucres, when maple sap is collected and processed and is usually part of the offerings during a meal at a sugar shack, but it is not specifically a maple dessert.
The pouding chômeur is a basic cake batter onto which a hot syrup or caramel is poured before baking. The cake then rises through the liquid which settles at the bottom of the pan, mixing with the batter and creating a distinct layer at the bottom of the dish. The syrup or caramel can be made from brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup or a combination of these.
At the depth of the Depression, stale bread was also used in lieu of cake batter.
The dessert is also sometimes called pouding du chômeur or pouding au chômeur and is sometimes written using the formal English word pudding.