The Derbyshire town of Bakewell has lent its name to multiple dessert confections: a frangipane tart, and its cousin, this rich, easy-to-prepare pudding.

The precise origins of both, however, remain stubbornly shrouded in culinary mystery. Online sleuths suggest that the 1836 publication The Magazine of Domestic Economy may have featured the first known instance of a recipe for Bakewell Pudding, although people from the town itself believe the creation can be traced back earlier, to the 1820s.

In any case, by the mid-19th century, this sweet treat was celebrated both in Britain and in the US. The mix of almonds and jam remains a classic combination of flavours, belying its slightly ramshackle appearance.


  • 500g ready-made puff pastry
  • good quality raspberry jam
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • extra butter for greasing
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 150g ground almonds
  • almond essence
  • icing sugar for dusting


  • STEP 1

    Preheat the oven to 190oC (170oC fan) / 375o F. Grease and flour a 23cm (nine-inch) loosebottomed tart tin.

  • STEP 2

    Roll out the pastry on to a lightly floured work surface to form a circle a few inches larger than the tin. Line the tin with the pastry, gently pressing into the edges. Trim the excess pastry from the edge of the tin.

  • STEP 3

    Spread raspberry jam evenly over the pastry base. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and then gradually add the eggs, beating all the time. Stir in the ground almonds until they are well mixed.

  • STEP 4

    Taste the mixture and add almond essence if you would prefer a stronger almond taste.

  • STEP 5

    Pour the filling mixture into the pastry case and spread it evenly over the raspberry layer.

  • STEP 6

    Bake the tart on the middle shelf of the oven for 35–40 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown. This can take up to an hour or more, depending on the oven.

  • STEP 7

    Dust the top of the pudding with icing sugar and serve.

Recipe from Thanks to Ivan Day at Food History Jottings: