21 Jun 2012

Bakewell Tart or Pudding?

The original Bakewell Pudding Shop

Until I moved to Yorkshire and started to look into the history and traditions of the region and the neighbouring counties I hadn't realised that there were differing opinions as to the question - what constitutes an authentic Bakewell Tart?  I thought that a Bakewell Tart was a small cake with a pastry base, almond and jam filling, a top layer of soft icing and finished off with a glace cherry. This was commercially produced by a certain famous company and sold in packs of six or eight in my local supermarket.
In fact, this version of the recipe is only one type of the tea time treat.  Bakewell claims to be the home of an older version called the Bakewell Pudding which is more like a medium sized jam tart than an individual cake.

The story goes that sometime in the 1860s a Mrs Graves, Mistress of the local inn (now called The Rutland Arms), was asked to provide a strawberry tart by a visiting nobleman.  The inexperienced kitchen assistant produced something different from the original recipe, but it was such a success that another local woman took the opportunity to produce the pudding and set up a business of her own.  The secret recipe was handed down and it eventually fell into the hands of a Mr Bloomer. There's still a shop in Bakewell selling Bloomers Original Bakewell Puddings, but there are several other old establishments that claim to sell the original pudding and the tart.

Needless to say, Bakewell caters for the many visitors who are attracted to the town because of its quintessential Englishness by providing many coffee shops and tea rooms. Naturally, I had to do some 'research' of my own regarding this story and, being fair minded, went to the 'rival' shops selling their tempting-looking products of tarts and puddings and other sweet treats and bought some cakes to take home.

The Bakewell Pudding and other sweet treats
A Celebration sized Bakewell Tart!
The Rutland Arms where the pudding was first produced
Bloomer's Shop

           Tea in the garden.  

A Bakewell Pudding or a Bakewell Tart?  There's also a lemon and coconut one just to confuse the choice!


  1. Those look absolutely delicious. Great images of the shops.

  2. YUM---Both versions sound GREAT... It would be hard to choose... I'd like the lemon and coconut one too... (I'm not hard to please when it comes to things like that... ha)

    NOW--you have just made me hungry... Guess it's time for lunch here.

  3. Americans do not eat enough tarts!