Wall to All

Sometime stories of a sometime scribe who sometimes writes

Nana's Custard Bakewells

You need a bottle of dark demerara rum under the sole plates

a kettle to boil water in and a stove to put it on.
A tin of proper cocoa powder in the bilge stores.
And a jar with some Demerara sugar in it.
A large bone china mug from the dresser.
Ground cinnamon. kept dry by the fire.
Full cream milk kept cool by the back door.
although if you have some Polish Smietamka 30% UHT cream? Fine!

Put the kettle on to be boiling. Into the mug, shovel a spoon or three of real demerara sugar followed by a spoon of cocoa powder and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add 50mls of dark rum, stirring all the time until you got a smooth paste. When smooth, stir in 100 ml. full milk or cream stirring as you go. Fill the mug with boilin water ... s l o w l y ...  stirring as you go. Allow to rest, savouring the aroma. Drink with reverence in yer own time but before it goes cold. And before going to bed.



"Bakewell" is not a reflection on domestic proficiency.

It is a rather beautiful village in Derbyshire on the River Wye,

home to "The Bakewell Pudding Shop" even more famous nowadays than its village.

The Bakewell Pudding Shop sells and exports, of all things, Bakewell Puddings.

 There is a commercial baking company which makes facsimiles of the Bakewell Pudding.

Mr.Kipling's Bakewell Tart for instance contains the following ingredients:

Wheat Flour,


Raspberry Flavoured Plum Jam  consisting of Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Plums, Sugar Syrup, Raspberries, Gelling Agent (Pectin), Citric Acid, Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrates), Colour (Anthocyanins), Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Flavouring),

Vegetable Oil,

Glucose Syrup,

Vegetable Margarine (Vegetable Oil, Salt),

Reconstituted Egg White,

Rice Flour,

Sweetened Condensed Skimmed Milk,

Vegetable Fat,

Whey Powder,

Ground Almonds,

Soya Flour,

Raising Agents (Disodium Diphosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate),


Emulsifiers (Sorbitan Monostearate, Polysorbate 60),

Milk Protein,

Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder,

Humectant (Vegetable Glycerine),

Dried Egg White,

Preservative (Potassium Sorbate),

Colour (Lutein)

The stuff in RED I don't know anything about (or at least did not when growing up!) 


I've a suspicion the Bakewell Pudding Shop may be as backward as I am in that respect.


Nana Wall used to make Bakewell puddings in all varieties for her growing family and indeed she taught us to make our own.  The basic recipe uses shortcrust pastry rolled out and cut in circles with a wine glass of a size which fits a standard 12 section 'bun-tin'.

(Nana used three such tins at a time for seven grateful recipients).

Once the tins were lined with the pastry, a large blob of home-made raspberry jam was plopped into each pastry cup. I recollect a one-pound pot could stretch to 36 bakewells. Meanwhile one of us would be making a standard sponge mixture, about a pint. The secret ingredient added in (as I remember) after all the beating and whisking was a capful of vanilla essence, a tblsp of GROUND almonds. I now add add a tblsp of "Powers Gold Label". 

Each of the the 36 'tartlets' was half-filled with sponge and tins went in a very hot oven for about ten minutes, coming out when the top of the sponge was golden. The tins were allowed to cool on the outside window sill but we had to watch for and shoo away opportunistic sparrows which were aware the Wall Kitchen Window Sill was a steady source of al-fresco.

Meanwhile, someone else was making ever-so-slightly-runny Bird's Custard using non pastuerised, non homogonised, non radiation-treated cow's milk, from cows that were not fed on hormones, anti-biotics on any other shit and which was delivered to our house by horse and trap (with soft rubber tyres!) about two hours after it came from Maxwell's fine herd of Corduff Shorthorns. When the puddings were cooled, the custard was ladled out equally among the 36 puddings and allowed to cool in the larder, which Nana thoughtfully locked (and absent-mindedly dropped the key of in her bib) to ensure there was no 'shrinkage'. I seem to remember that on special occasions Nana might sprinkle 100s and 1000s over one or more of the trays before locking the door.

So there you have the reason why Nana Wall's Bakewell Tarts went down so well.

I understand that in the 21st Century, Mr. Kiplings company replaces the custard by a vile, yellow, water icing which I neither know the constituents of nor want to. No shit Sherlock.




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