Recently David Copperfield, one of Charles Dicken’s most famous characters, was in the village of Bakewell, UK. Dickens once stayed in Bakewell, at the Rutland Arms, whilst writing his long-forgotten short story called “The Warilows of Wellland”; this same hotel also hosted Jane Austen, Lord Byron, and Coleridge–though never, of course, at the same time. David Copperfield just stopped by for the Bakewell Tart.
This pastry, available in cardboard boxes throughout English supermarkets, is virtually unknown in the States. A pity, because the freshly made version is scrumptious. It is concocted from a shortcrust pastry shell embellished with layers of jam, frangipane, and almond flakes. Word of the day: frangipane–a filling layered with almonds. The decadent tart can be further enhanced with a thick crust of white fondant icing and a glazed cherry on top; this is known as the Iced Cherry Bakewell. Legend has it that the tart is derived from the heartier Bakewell pudding, an egg custard usually served warm, and originally made by a Mrs. Greaves in the early 18th century.
If this has piqued your craving for sweets, and you can’t get to England any time soon, be sure to stop by Amazon and obtain your copy of Hansel and Gretel Inside the House of Candy (free from April 11-15.)