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Paignton Pudding to feature in tonight's Great British Bake Off

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 27, 2014

Helen Hallett

Helen Hallett

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TONIGHT'S Great British Bake Off will feature the historic Paington Pudding.

Sue Perkins visits Paignton to explore the origins of the giant pudding which was baked for centuries in the town. She talks to Helen Hallett of Paignton based Hallett’s The Bakers for her expert view as the bakery has made several of these puddings for recent local events.

Helen said: “We make a tiered pudding to demonstrate how the huge ones would have been assembled in previous centuries.”

Sue assists Helen with the weighing up and mixing of the enormous desert and it was steamed to perfection in layers in the bakers’ ovens and then put together for the cameras.

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Helen also explains how the ingredients have been added to and improved by different bakers over the years, sometimes with disastrous results.

The very first Paignton Pudding was made in token payment for granting the charter to town in the 13th century.

The town became so famous for its puddings that its citizens were often referred to as ‘Puddeneaters’. The most famous pudding of all was the one that was baked in 1859 to celebrate the opening of the railway in Paignton.

One-and-a half tonnes in weight, with a 13ft base and a 5ft top layer, it caused a riot on the Green when a crowd of 18,000 people clamoured for their own piece of history by breaking down the barriers around the invited guests.

It was most recently made again in 2009 for Paignton Regatta.

Helen added: "It's nice to be on BBC1. We watch the show and enjoy everything to do with food and baking.

"We very much enjoyed being part of it. They had heard about the Paignton pudding and the riot, and as we have done at least three in recent years they wanted us to show them all the ingredients and how it was made.

"In the 13th Century there wasn't much available so we have added ingredients. When i made an original to the original recipe it was revolting! Nobody would eat it now.

"The film crew took the pudding down to the sea front but it was nowhere near the size of the railway one which had to be dragged along by six oxen."

In the tent, it’s week four and the amateur bakers have to show their expertise in making puds. For their signature challenge, they must bake saucy puds, the technical challenge is a tiramisu cake and the shop-stopper is a baked Alaska. On your marks... get set... bake!

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