British Isles Food and Drink

Recipe of the Week: Mrs Beeton’s Bakewell Pudding

Try your hand at baking a firm British family favourite with this vintage recipe from a classic household handbook.

The Bakewell Pudding started out as a happy accident sometime in the 1800s at the White Horse (now the Rutland Arms Hotel), Bakewell. There are variations on the story, but one of our favourites is the account of Mrs Greaves, the landlady, who had left instructions for her cook to make a jam tart at the request of visiting noblemen.

The hapless cook, instead of stirring the egg mixture and almond paste into the pastry, spread it on top of the jam. When cooked, the egg and almond paste set like egg custard. Luckily, everyone liked the new recipe and the Bakewell Pudding was added to the inn’s menu.

Bakewell pudding
Mrs Beeton’s Bakewell Pudding © Wkerry, Wikimedia Commons

These days, three separate businesses in Bakewell lay claim to serving the original Bakewell Pudding: Bloomers, the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, and the Bakewell Tart Shop & Coffee House (which sells three different types of Bakewell Tart alongside the traditional Bakewell Pudding).

Nowadays there are many different forms of the English dessert, usually made with a flaky pastry base covered in jam and topped with an egg and almond paste filling. The modern, iced-top, commercially made adaptations are very different from the original pudding.

Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management was the handbook for running a household in Victorian Britain © Isabella Beeton, Wikimedia Commons

While the current pudding bakers in Bakewell keep their recipes a closely guarded secret, Mrs Beeton (of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management fame) was more than happy to share her version.


450ml/3⁄4 pint of breadcrumbs

600ml/1 pint of milk

3 eggs

55g/2oz of sugar

80g/3oz of butter

25g/1oz of ground almonds a layer of jam


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas mark 4.
  2. Butter a pie dish, add the breadcrumbs, covering them with a layer of strawberry or any other kind of jam.
  3. Mix the milk with the beaten eggs, the ground almonds, and the butter and sugar.
  4. Beat all the ingredients together, pour into the dish and bake for one hour. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, cream or custard. Or all three.

More information

Discover more local stories from the Peak District in our Slow Travel guide: