Was the English confection first made in the small Derbyshire town of Bakewell? Up to a point is the short answer. The Bakewell tart as it is usually sold today is a light teatime delicacy that is only distantly related to the original Bakewell pudding, which did originate in Bakewell.
The tart is a shortcrust pastry case lined with jam, on top of which is a sponge flavoured with ground almonds. On top of that is a thin coat of fondant icing topped by half a glace cherry. This commercial dainty seems to have originated in the early 20th century.
The Bakewell pudding consists of a flaky pastry shell lined by a thick layer of jam and filled with an egg custard mixed with ground almonds – making a hot dessert that is considerably more substantial than the more modern tart.
The pudding was invented by Mrs Greaves, landlady of the White Horse Inn around the late 18th or early 19th century. Three shops in Bakewell now sell puddings that each claims to be made using the original and highly secret recipe. So go to Bakewell and see which you like best!