Dishing up a debate

editorial image

A NEWLY-DISCOVERED ancient recipe for Bakewell Pudding has served up a heated culinary conundrum about the origins of the world-famous dish.

The handwritten formula was found in an old cook book compiled by Clara Palmer-Morewood, who lived in Alfreton Hall.

It is clearly titled Bakewell Pudding and dated 1837 – casting doubt over local legend that the delicious dish was created by accident by Ann Greaves, the landlady of Bakewell’s Rutland Arms, about 30 years later.

But Paul Hudson, her great-great-great grandson, said the newly-discovered formula bore no resemblance to his famous ancestor’s original recipe, which has been passed down through the family.

The cook book, which was bought by Derbyshire County Council for a collection on the Palmer-Morewood family, contains hundreds of recipes and medicinal cures.

Record Office staff came across the Bakewell Pudding recipe on page 95 and excited archives manager Sarah Chubb promptly made it for colleagues to try.

“It was delicious and very easy to make,” said Sarah.

She added the recipe’s discovery was a “terrifically exciting find”.

Cllr Andrew Lewer, leader of the authority, said: “This will certainly raise questions about when Bakewell Pudding was invented.”

However, Mr Hudson maintained his great-great-great grandmother originated the Bakewell Pudding in the Rutland Arms sometime between 1851 and 1857.

Local legend states an inexperienced waitress was preparing dessert under Mrs Greaves’ orders. The flustered waitress made a mistake with the ingredients - but hotel guests loved the tasty, new sweet and shrewd Mrs Greaves made a note of the amended recipe.

Mr Hudson said: “Just the other night my wife made a Bakewell Pudding using Mrs Greaves’ original recipe, which is handed down through the family on marriage.

“I can promise you it tasted wonderful and bore no resemblance to the recipe in this newly-found cook book.”

Mr Hudson added that Mrs Greaves ran the Rutland Arms for 53 years and would have served up many delicacies under the general name of Bakewell Pudding.

He said she may have written one of those recipes for Mrs Palmer-Morewood’s book.

“Mrs Palmer-Morwood lived at Alfreton Hall and Mrs Greaves was born nearby in Swanwick and the two ladies could easily have been best friends since childhood and exchanged recipes since then,” he added.

Why not have a go at cooking Clara Palmer-Morewood’s Bakewell Pudding recipe...?

Lay a Puff paste over a tin, open tart mould, put into it two dozen raisins stoned and chopped fine (Dryed cherries would be better) Almonds cut thin, candied orange peel, or any kind of preserve. Beat well the yolks of four eggs, & the white of one, add ¼ lb of clarified butter, & some powdered sugar, beat all together & fill up the mould with the mixture, (Lemon would improve it) bake it in a slow oven - to be eaten cold & sprinkled over with powdered sugar.