Old English Lake District Traditional Recipes

by Veronica

Whilst staying a few days in the English Lake District this week, I started a search for traditional Lakeland food and fayre.

The English Lake District comprises the of the former English counties of Cumberland, Westmorland and North Lancashire and parts of Yorkshire. The main county is now called Cumbria.

The food is varied and the proximity to Scotland and also the west coast British ports has shaped some very interesting and varied foods. Spices feature strongly in Lakeland cooking because of the west coast trade.

I shall be adding to this page as frequently as possible.

Lake District

Lake District - A S Scotland - B ; and N Ireland. - C


unusual varities of apples
unusual varities of apples

I hadn't  hard of these varieties of apples before. They include Nelson apples and Desmond.

Westmorland Crundle

I saw this on the menu many years ago at The Cross Keys Temperance Inn near Sedbergh, Cumbria. I hadn't heard of it before.


4 ozs of plain flour,

two eggs,

one pint of milk,

one tablespoonful of castor sugar,

2 ozs butter.

Pour  boiling  milk over flour and butter,cover, and let it go cold..   Beat  until smooth, add sugar and eggs and bake in a hot oven for 60 minutes.

Serve hot

Lake District lemon and spice cake

Lake District lemon and spice cake

8 oxs self raising flour

8 ozs soft butter

8 ozs sugar

tsp cinnamon

tsp ginger

3 eggs beaten

juice of 2 lemons



Set the oven to Elec 325F  or gas 3

Cream butter and sugar Add the dry ingredients and then beat in the eggs

Bake in the oven for an hour or until brown on top

Eat cold.

Cumberland Rum Nicky

Cumberland Rum Nicky

Shortcrust pastry

8 ozs flour

3 ozs white fat

1 oz yellow fat

water to bind.

4 ozs currants

2ozs brown sugar

1 tbsp. dried ginger

2 ozs soft  butter

2 fl ozs rum


Set the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3

Mix all the filling ingredients in a  bowl and allow flavours to develop whilst you make pastry.

Add the filling to the pastry case and bake for approx. 35 mins depending on your oven. Eat hot or cold.




Lakeland Tatie Scones

This is a link to the Scottish connection as Cumbria is on the border with Scotland and Tatie scones originate from there.

Lakeland Tatie Scones  ( tatty - potatoes)

8 ozs Self raising flour

6 ozs cold mashed potatoes

2 ozs Cheddar cheese grated

salt and pepper to taste

2 ozs butter

milk to bind together


set oven for elec 400F or gas 6

Rub butter into sieved flour

add all the other ingredients and mix well .

Roll out dough onto a board and cut scones into shapes desired , ...circles, squares etc.

bake in oven for 10 or 15 mins either side and serve hot with butter.


Buttermere Biscuits

Buttermere Biscuits

8 oz. self raising flour 
4 oz. soft butter
4 oz. caster sugar
1 large egg 
2 oz. currants  
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all the dry ingredients together

Beat in the butter

Add a beaten eggs and mix together

Roll out thickly on board and cut biscuits in to your size of choice.

bake for 15 mins on Elec 350F or Gas 4  , or until cooked


Cumberland Hot Pot

We had this a few years ago near lake Consiton. My husband enjoyed it so much that we went back next night and he ordered it again 

Cumberland Hot Pot

1 lb of diced hogget or mutton

8 ozs Black pudding ( blood sausage )

1 large onion chopped

2 large carrots chopped large and chunky

1 turnip chopped

1 pint of stock

2 lbs potatoes cut into thin slices


Brown all the meat in a pan and put all the ingredients except potatoes  into a large casserole dish .

Layer the potato slices over the meat . Pour the stock over the mixture.

Cook very slowly for about 3 hours on Elec 150C/  300 F  or gas 2

Serve with pickled red cabbage


Cumberland Clap bread / havver bread

Cumberland Clap bread / Havver bread

Havver is the Norse word for oats so as the North of England was heavily Norse,  Havver bread is to be expected in this area.  Havver bread is a very large thin circular oat bread. Wheat does not grow well so far north so oats are a  good alternative.

6oz fine  oatmeal                   
salt to taste  

1 tsp baking soda
2oz flour
boiling water
One tablespoon melted butter

Mix the dry ingredients together and then mix the butter with some boiling water and bind together the dry ingredients. Add more boiling water if necessary.

Rollout the dough and cut into shapes as desired

Bake until crisp on  350F, 180C or Gas 4 for about 25 mins

Cumberland Rum Butter

Cumberland Rum Butter

Once again rum makes an appearance. There was a huge smuggling trade and also ships arriving in West of England ports brought rum too. Rum butter has been in Cumberland for centuries

8 ozs unsalted butter  softened

6 ozs dark brown sugar

10 tbs rum

Mix all the ingredients together and leave for 24 hours to infuse. Serve on scones, pancakes  or with rich puddings

I always do this on Christmas day to eat with a traditional Christmas pudding .

Lamplugh Pudding

This is a very old recipe which has no amounts with it.

Lamplugh Pudding

This is considered to be a fore runner of a traditional Christmas pudding. The origins though are vague.

Ale was mixed with  spices and brown sugar then poured over dried fruit, lemon rind and oats. This made a fruit porridge. The consistency was as people wanted to to be.

April 2018 update ; Kendal Pudding

This recipe appeared in 1859. It has a pastry base and is like a baked custard.

Kendal Pudding

Pastry to line a pie dish

2 types of jam

2 eggs


2 ozs sugar

grated lemon peel


  • Line a pie dish with pastry and cover the base with two  types of jam.
  • Mix eggs, milk and sugar together and pour into the dish on top of the jam.
  • Scatter lemon peel on top and bake in the oven on Gas 4 / Elec 350 F  /150 C for about 35 mins or until a knife put into it comes out clean

Sawrey Pie

Sawrey pie
Sawrey pie

Sawrey Pie

Autumn 2019

I found a very localised Lake District recipe yesterday. It comes from the village of Sawrey, Beatrix Potter's location .

It has a layer of pastry, a layer of Apricot jam, a layer of rhubarb and a cinnamon sponge layer on top. Sounds good. 

Borrowdale Teabread

My son bought me one of these today, whilst we were on holiday in Cumbria. I did not bake it but it is available for purchase from Bryson's Bakers in Keswick. It is a delicious teabread. 

Borrowbread Teabread

Bryson's bakers, Keswick Cumbria.
Bryson's bakers, Keswick Cumbria.
Updated: 10/28/2021, Veronica
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Veronica on 03/10/2022

Rum butter would be ideal.

DerdriuMarriner on 03/10/2022

In 2018 and 2019, I made lemon and spice cake, sawrey pie and tatie scones. They pleased everyone even though everybody particularly relished sawrey pie. The interaction between the tastes from apricot, cinnamon and rhubarb was the deal-breaker in putting it -- albeit by just a little bit -- ahead of cake and scones.

I'd like to make havver bread again since we all ate it plain (and enjoyed it). Would the rum butter or something else be served alongside or on it?

Veronica on 10/31/2021

If dried fruit is not soaked before it is added to a bread or cake recipe, the fruit takes moisture from the cake to plump itself out. This makes a fruit cake, bread or pudding dry .
I made my Christmas cake two weeks ago and I soaked the fruit overnight before making the cake.

Veronica on 10/31/2021

The poor in England were very skillful at adapting food to the climate

frankbeswick on 10/31/2021

Thanks for this. I was totally unaware of this technique. This information shows the value of Wizzley, there is a fund of knowledge to be found in its writers.

frankbeswick on 10/31/2021

I just noticed the bit about havver [oat] bread. You are right about wheat's not being a northern plant, but it is worth remembering that oats can thrive in damp climates, of which Cumbria sure has one. Oats can survive in poorer soils than wheat can.

Veronica on 10/31/2021

Tea bread is a traditional English fruit bread recipe where the dried fruit is soaked overnight in cold tea. This makes the fruit plump and moist when it enters the mixture so then it does not take moisture out of the bread mixture. Therefore it is a moist loaf .

frankbeswick on 10/31/2021

What is tea bread?

Veronica on 10/28/2021

I had some Borrowdale teabread today. It is a Lake District teabread and is available for purchase online.

Veronica on 08/05/2021

I don t have a recipe for it. I saw it in a cafe in Cumbria.
But to look at it, ... i would think ...

.......make a layer of pastry to line a pie dish
....... spread a layer of apricot jam or preserve over the pastry
........ stew some rhubarb, drain of excess water and spread over the jam
......... make your sponge cake recipe but add cinnamon to taste . Spread this over the rhubarb
......... bake on 180C for about 30 mins.

Serve hot or cold.

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