Friday, June 30, 2006

Bakewell Pudding/Tart, Derbyshire


Andrew at SpittoonExtra recently posted a rallying cry to all bloggers to go out a bake a Bakewell Pudding/Tart. This in reponse to a recent article in The Grocer magazine and The Independent newspaper that suggests that the dish is falling out of favour. Mr. Kipling's exceedingly sweet and sickly rendition of the same item has seen a 31 per cent decrease in sales over the last year, that would be nice to put down to keen bakers making their own at home, but apparently the drop in popularity reflects the unhealthy ingredients and the fact we are all so damn health conscious. Hmmm. The presence of sugar, butter and eggs doesn't seem to effect the popularity of cakes generally, so I am not sure about this argument. Perhaps the Bakewell Pudding/Tart is seen as a old-fashioned food, and is simply passing out of fashion. Either way, it would be a great shame for a famed regional dish to simply fade away (I will weep no tear for Mr. Kipling however), and therefore I am firmly behind Andrew's suggestion that as many people as possible make and post a Bakewell Pudding/Tart before the end of the month.

But before I weary my fingers and your patience, I should briefly touch on the duality of the name. It is a tart or is it a pudding? The original dish was known as a Bakewell Pudding. The earliest recorded recipe, by Eliza Acton in 1845, indicates a pastry-less sweet; a dish lined with fruit preserves and topped with egg yolks beaten with sugar and butter, into which a small amount of almond flavouring was added (no ground almonds). As for the stories that attribute the origination of the dish to a clumsy cook at a Derbyshire Inn, who muddled up the making of a strawberry tart by putting the fruit mix straight onto the pastry base of a tart, rather than on the top of the butter, egg and sugar 'filling', I am pretty sure that there is no hard proof that this is the fact. Similar dishes to Bakewell Pudding were in existence for several centuries before Ms. Acton penned her recipe, many were variations on the Transparent Pudding. The Transparent Pudding recipes I could find on the internet all come from late 19th century American cookbooks, so the idea obviously travelled across the Atlantic via a pastry loving cook. Somewhere in Kentucky is a bakery that still makes them for sale. Maybe they are much more widely available than this? - do let me know.

Over the course of the nineteenth century, the Bakewell Pudding came to have a pastry base. Mrs Beeton in 1861 gives a recipe for one with a puff-pastry base. I can see that from then on the Bakewell Pudding could be legitimately be referred to as a tart, for it was baked within a pastry case. Recipes nowadays use either puff or shortcrust pastry, and the title is either for a Pudding or a Tart. In this instance I really don't think it matters too much. The orignal pudding has become a tart, so to my mind either name is valid.

At least two Bakewell-based bakers boast that they recreate the 'original' pudding/tart recipe, and even they can't agree on which name to go by. In Bakewell town there is both a Bakewell Pudding Shop, and aBakewell Tart Shop. If you go to the website of the Bakewell Pudding Shop, you can enter a competition to win one of their renditions of the pudding. Go on, it's worth a shot.

My recipe comes from one of my regular sources, Jane Grigson's 'English Food'. Her recipe is for a Bakewell Pudding, and she mentions that local to Bakewell it is always a pudding and never a tart. Her instructions are for one large pudding, but as I wanted to bake small puddings I have tweaked them a little.

Rich sweet shortcrust pastry (I made enough to line a 12 hole tart tin)
Raspberry/strawberry jam (decent stuff please - I bought raspberry jam but then couldn't get the blooming lid off it, so used strawberry instead)
65g unsalted butter
2 eggs
65g caster sugar
65g ground almonds

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
2. Roll out the pastry, press out circles of suitable size and use to line your tin.
3. Melt the butter and leave to cool.
4. Pop a little jam into the base of each pudding. Don't go mad, but put in enough to cover the base comfortably.
5. Beat the eggs and sugar until they are pale in colour and of a good thick cream consistency.
6. Add the butter and stir in, then fold in the almonds. Spoon mixture onto the jam layer - again don't go too mad or you'll end up with a big Bakewell mess when they cook.
7. My little tarts took approx. 15-20 minutes to cook. I whipped them out as soon as they reached a good colour.


I was rather pleased with my little puddings. They were extremely light and easy to consume. The egg, sugar and almond topping formed quite a thin layer, and I didn't really notice a strong almond flavour. I think that the ground almonds served to bind the mixture as much as anything. I would certainly make these again, and I will have to now that they are all polished off. Thanks Andrew, for your inspiring idea.

P.S. For any keen and inventive icecream makers out there, you may be interested to know that I came across a site for the Bakewell Ice Cream Parlour (opening summer of 2006), which will be selling Bakewell Pudding icecream. A good idea?...

34 comments:

Sam said...

It's amazing how everyones' Bakewells turn out! mine couldn't be further than yours but they all look delicious and they all look better than Mr Kipling's too!

Natalia said...

I've never had one of these before. Now I'm dieing to try it. I love almond cakes and I love jam. It looks delicious@

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Anna - I am absolutely delighted to have found you - purely by chance! I am embarassed to admit that in spite of my publicly stated intention to make a Bakewell pudding according to Eliza Acton's recipe for this blog event, a whole lot of family "stuff" got in the way, and I suddenly found that the deadline had gone. Yours look fantastic.

Pille said...

Anna - I used the same recipe:) Your mini tarts look lovely - I think I'll go for mini tarts next time, too.

juliebean said...

A delicious and beautiful entry for the Bakewell roundup...Your tarts are soooooo wonderful!!!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love Bakewell Pudding/Tart! Your tarts look so delicious and neat!!!

There's always this thing about the "real" Bakewell Pudding recipe being kept secret and somehow it is a little true as I've not been able to find a recipe which is able to recreate something close to the ones I've eaten in Bakewell...
In any case, the recipes we use are also very gratifying and delicious!

Anonymous said...

Anna - hope you've seen page 2 of the Times2 supplement of the Times today (July 6). Well done!!!
Pille

Kate in Kent said...

Hi, I've been lurking for a while and really enjoying your blog - just wanted to say I saw you mentioned in today's Times and cheered for you!

Bonnie said...

Congratulations for being in the Times!!! YAY!

anna said...

Thank you everyone for your positive comments.

I was rather chuffed by the menion in The Times, after all it is not everyday you make it into the national press, and at least it is for the right reasons! Writing a blog is a pretty self-indulgent activity, although you obviously hope that one or two people (in the WHOLE WORLD) might also find what you have to say of interest. I really enjoy the process of reading and researching, as well as cooking and eating, but it is really touching to know that other people find my site enjoyable too. THANKS!

Mr Atrocity said...

Anna, thanks for the inspiration to bake this classic. These are my ultra mini-Bakewells. Just a tiny mouthful each, but guaranteed to make you smile.

Mr Atrocity

jenjen said...

These look wonderful!

Kate in Kent said...

Bakewell Pudding ice cream - well, the Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream was a triumph in our house (thanks to you, for passing on both the recipe and your comments on making it), so why not?

anna said...

Hello Kate,

If you manage to devise a recipe for Bakewell Pudding Icecream, please do let me know! Perhaps I should also refer the idea back to Rob at Hungry in Hogtown as he seems to have a particular skill for coming up with unusual icecreams.

valentina said...

Anna, one of my 'wish list' items is to be English delicacies to a Brazilian audience - displayed via the portuguese version of my blog. So far I have failed terribly having only done a handful os scones - if that, and didn't even post my bread & butter pudding. I have not given up yet and jsut hope to get organized very soon.Your blog is a constant source of inspiration.

valentina said...

..oops, I meant 'to bake' - no intention in being such a thing.

cakebaker_cakemaker said...

Hi Anna, I just happened upon your blog purely by chance and found these delicious tarts. I might say they are just what I have been looking for. Not too big,just a couple of sweet mouthfuls. I have a regular client who asks me for mini *everything*. I'm sure she will be pleased and so will her morning tea ladies.
Thanks for your blog it's great.

anna said...

Hello to you fellow cakebaker. I hope that the morning tea ladies (how can I get that job?) enjoy these mini tarts ; )

cakebaker_cakemaker said...

Hi Anna,

I guess "word of mouth" is your best advertising for getting these lovely jobs.
I would like to ask you if you have a recipe for eccles cakes. There are many out there but after looking at your blog I think you may have a good one.

anna said...

I haven't had a go at baking eccles cakes yet. I have made Banbury cakes, which are pretty similar in composition, just different in shape. However, I should really 'do' eccles cakes at some point. Let me know if you bake some, and I will be interested to see your recipe.

cakebaker_cakemaker said...

Anna, I will definitely let you know if I find a reliable recipe.

Janet said...

I love your site and am looking forward to making these tarts.
I make my own jam so will do the raspberry and I also take out the seeds which we then call this jam razelberry jelly should go nicely with the receipe, thank you so much
J'net from Oregon USA

Anonymous said...

not to be unfair but have you ever actually been to bakewell and had a bakewell pudding? A bakewell tart and a bakewell pudding are two totally different thiungs a bakewell tart you can get anywhere thats just a commercial product like mr kiplings a bakewell pudding is nothing like it and your tart/puddings look nothing like the real one!

Anonymous said...

In reference to the Transparent Pudding... I'm from the American Midwest, technically Southern Ohio/Northern Kentucky. All of my cookbooks have recipes for Pecan Pie and Pecan Tartlets. Some have Sugar Pie recipes, which omit any filling other than the egg/sugar mix. Occasionally I'll see an insert for Transparent Pie, but mostly my Pecan Pie recipes just instruct the baker to leave the pecans out for a Transparent Pie.
If you're still interested in Transparent Pudding recipes, try searching for the above names instead and you'll probably come up with many more results.

Anonymous said...

www.mageesbakeryfarm.com in Maysville, Kentucky is where transparent puddings are made. There may be other Kentucky bakeries that also make them, but I lived in Maysville for a couple of years and this is where I was introduced to them. We have ordered them at Christmas time ever since, but last Christmas the recipe seemed changed somehow - maybe it was just an anomaly.

Jennifer A. Wickes said...

I love Bakewell Tarts, and this looks like a good recipe! Thanks!

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sheffchef said...

That is not, I repeat not a Bakewell Pudding.
It is a Bakewell Tart, the puddings are made with flaky/puff pastry and with a layer of almond paste and look very like Yorkshire Puddings when they come from the oven.

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Derbyshire Plumber said...

I followed your recipe and the tarts came out a treat! Thank you for sharing with us.

Manfaat dan Khasiat Kombucha Tea said...

Beautifully written up and great fun. By the way, oats were not only the staple food in Scotland but also in Cumbria--where oatbread is (or was) called haverbread, from the norse word for oats--and the North of England. Most of the "traditional" foods of Scotland are in fact equally traditional in these areas too.

Ivan Day said...

There are quite a few earlier recipes for Bakewell Pudding before Eliza Acton's. Recent research has also demonstrated that the story told about the pudding"s accidental origins are almost certainly spurious. You can see the early recipes on my blog Food History Jottings at

http://foodhistorjottings.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/some-early-bakewell-pudding-recipes.html

Ivan Day