So, is it a pudding or a tart? That is the question!
The answer is – both! But please don’t make the mistake of describing the mouth-watering almond paste and puff pastry delicacy a ‘tart’ when you are in Bakewell. Here it is a pudding, made to a recipe which remains a closely-guarded secret known, allegedly, only to certain bakers in the town.
Legend has it that the original pudding came about as a culinary mistake by an inexperienced cook at the White Horse Inn (now the Rutland Arms), who had been asked to make a strawberry tart but, instead of stirring the egg mix into the pastry, poured it over the strawberry jam instead, and the result was a non-sweet pastry – the first of the now famous puddings. This version of the origins is pooh-poohed by many historians who have traced the pudding’s existence back to medieval times. Either way it is not to be confused with the tart version, which comprises a shortcrust pastry shell, spread with jam and covered with a sponge-like filling enriched with ground almonds.
The pudding, on the other hand, is made up of a puff pastry shell with a layer of jam, covered with a filling of eggs, sugar, butter and almond flavoured icing. To confuse matters even further, there is also a Cherry Bakewell, a small cake covered with a top layer of icing and a single central half-cherry.
The following is an accepted method of making a Bakewell pudding – but it is not necessarily the same as the original ‘secret’ recipe, as claimed by The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop and Bloomers Original Bakewell Puddings. Ingredients: One and three-quarters pint breadcrumbs; a pint of milk; 3 eggs; 55g sugar; 80g butter; 25g ground almonds; jam. Preparation: Butter a pie dish, add the breadcrumbs and cover with a layer of strawberry jam; mix the milk with the beaten eggs, the ground almonds and the butter and sugar; beat all the ingredients together, pour into the dish and bake for an hour at a moderate heat. Serves 4-6.
The Square Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1BT
Date posted: January 6, 2012 by