National Bakewell Tart Day in the UK Date in the current year: August 11, 2024

National Bakewell Tart Day in the UK Although the majority of unofficial and semi-official food holidays originated in the United States, the United Kingdom also has its fair share of food days. For example, National Bakewell Tart Day, observed annually on August 11, celebrates a beloved English dessert that originated in Bakewell, Derbyshire.

The Derbyshire town of Bakewell is known for being the birthplace of two confections: the Bakewell pudding and the Bakewell tart. Although the terms “Bakewell pudding” and “Bakewell tart” are sometimes used interchangeably, each of them refers to a specific confection, although the two desserts are indeed related. 

The Bakewell pudding is the older one of the two confections. The earliest reference to this dessert dates back to the first half of the 19th century. It consists of a base made from flaky pastry and topped with a layer of sieved jam and a custard filling with almond paste.

The origin of the Bakewell pudding is unclear. According to a popular account, it was first made at the White Horse Inn (now Rutland Arms Hotel). The inn’s landlady, Mrs Greaves, instructed her cook to bake a jam tart with a pastry base made with eggs and almond paste. Instead of mixing the almond paste and eggs into the crust, the cook spread them on top of jam. The result was so good that a one-time mistake became a signature dessert of Bakewell.

The Bakewell tart is believed to have developed as a more sophisticated version of the Bakewell pudding. It consists of a shortcrust pastry pie crust filled with layers of jam and almond-flavored custard (frangipane), and topped with flaked almonds. The first mention of the Bakewell tart dates back to the early 20th century.

There are several variations of the Bakewell tart. For example, the Bakewell Tart Shop, which claims to be the birthplace of the Bakewell tart, sells the original Bakewell tart made to the traditional recipe, the Iced Cherry Bakewell tart, gluten free and vegan versions of both the original and Iced Cherry Blackwell tart, jam & coconut tart, and lemon & coconut tart.

Some Bakewell tart variants are produced commercially in the form of mini pies. For example, a Cherry Bakewell consists of a pie crust with layers of jam, frangipane, almond-flavored frosting, and a candied cherry on top. It is essentially a miniature version of the Bakewell Tart Shop’s Iced Cherry Bakewell tart. Cherry Bakewells are produced by the Mr Kipling brand.

Another Bakewell tart-inspired confection sold by Mr Kipling is Bakewell slices. Bakewell slices consist of pastry layered with jam and almond-flavored sponge and topped with fondant icing. Bakewell slices can be cooked at home as an alternative to the Bakewell tart or pudding.

National Bakewell Tart Day has been celebrated every August 11 since 2020. The holiday was created to celebrate the rich history of this fascinating dessert. You can observe it by buying a Bakewell tart at your local bakery or trying your hand at cooking it yourself. And don’t forget to spread the word on social media with the hashtag #NationalBakewellTartDay.

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