Cakes and Bakes, Delicious Desserts, GBBO - Season 8

GBBO Season 8 – Week 8 Technical: Cumberland Rum Nicky

The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 8 Challenges.

Total Cooking Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

The Great British Bake Off is a classic show for bakers and those looking for a friendly competition. All the bakes on the show look delicious and I often want to try baking them myself! I finally got off the couch and into the kitchen to recreate some of the recipes from Bake Off! I chose to start with season eight of Bake Off as it is my favorite season and the one with some of my favorite challenges!

The technical Challenge for forgotten bakes week is a Cumberland Rum Nicky. Yea, I have no idea either. Basically, it’s a fruit tart made from dry fruits and rum. I tried my best to stay true to the Paul Hollywood recipe but, I’m not going to lie, this tart doesn’t sound like my cup of tea. I’m not a huge fan of dried fruits, ginger, or rum. And that’s like… seventy five percent of the dish!

Check out the Season 8 Great British Bake Off Page to see other bakes from the series or the Make section for more recipes!


There are three different components to this recipe. The pie crust, the pie filling, and the pie topping. The crust is a shortcrust pastry which is very similar to other pastries I have made throughout my Great British Bake-Off Journey.

The filling is a mix of dates, apricots, ginger, rum, sugar, and butter. The topping for this dish is rum butter and I have no idea what this is supposed to be. It’s an emulsion of sugar, butter, and rum. I do know that the result is supposed to have a creamy, non-grainy texture.



Making the Filling

The filling was made first because the fruits need time to soak in the rum and sugar. This process will macerate the fruits. I find that macerating the fruit causes them to become softer before the baking step. This allows for a very tender result which is great for dessert. I don’t really want chewy fruit in my tart.


Making the Shortcrust

The shortcrust pastry for the Rum Nicky was very similar to other shortcrust dough I have made in the past. This became a sweeter dough than normal as I added in powdered sugar instead of my usual flour.

As always with this type of pastry, the first step was rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients. I always want to get that breadcrumb like texture. And I think all this practice has made me more consistent!

I was surprised by the variety of liquids that ended up going into the dough. It was water and egg AND lemon juice. A lot of the doughs I have seen add water or a combination of water and egg. Lemon juice is definitely new territory for me.

I gave the dough a bit of a kneed until it came together in the consistency that I wanted. I love making the dough smooth. For some reason, the process makes me feel powerful. Like I was in control and did that. (I mean I did but it’s a pastry at the end of the day).


Braiding and Baking

From what I saw on GBBO, a Rum Nicky has a very classic lattice work top. After giving the dough some time to rest, I divided in into two parts. One third for the top and two thirds for the base.

I rolled out the dough for the base and lined the pie tin. I don’t have the classic Rum Nicky pie tin so I just used whatever I could find in my cupboards. Next was making the lattice, I decided to make my lattice before putting in the filling (Paul’s recipe does the opposite).  I didn’t want the liquid from the fruit soaking into the pastry base for too long before entering the often.

The lattice is made from fourteen stripes. Seven going in one direction and seven going in the perpendicular direction. I’m still not used to making lattices so mine is definitely rough around the edges. After the lattice was finished, I placed it to the side and focused on filling the pie.

Filling the pastry is easy. Put the fruit in the pastry! (Sorry, got some put the lime in the coconut vibes going on in my head). I spread the filling out, so it was evenly dispersed. Then I plopped the butter cubes all around the filling.

Lastly, it’s time to secure the lattice to the rim of the pastry. I used water for the securing step and a fork to crimp all the way around the edge. I trimmed off any extra pastry and into the oven it went! The pie went through two steps in the oven. I started at a higher temperature and then reduced the heat to a lower temperature for the remainder of the bake.


Making the Rum Butter

While the pie was baking in the oven, I had one more thing to make: rum butter! In the show, Paul took away any electric mixers that contestants had and forced them to do this part by hand. I didn’t feel like doing that, so I used a mixer.

I basically started by whisking the butter and sugar together to make them nice and creamy. Then I added rum and continued whisking until it was a nice consistency. One big criticism Paul had during the judging was that the rum butter was grainy. I tried really hard to make sure I whipped it long enough, so the butter wasn’t grainy.


This turned out better than I expected especially for a dish that I wasn’t enthusiastic about. I’m not a huge fan of dates… or ginger… or rum… Yea, not a fan of about 75% of the dish just on principle. But, according to those I gave it to, it turned out well!

Am I ready for bake-off? I think that I did a good job on this challenge. Although, despite my best efforts and use of technology, I still had grainy rum butter. I don’t understand how rum butter is supposed to work. I didn’t really taste it as the rum flavor was really strong which is, again, not my cup of tea.


What is a Cumberland Rum Nicky?

I didn’t want to just make the dish without knowing some of the history. This dish was associated with northwest England and came into prominence during the period where England started trading products with the Caribbean. This was between the 17th and 18th century. Ginger, dates, and rum were all new to England and so what’s better way to celebrate these foods than putting them all into one tart?


Cumberland Rum Nicky

This sweet treat from the northern region of England is full of fruits and surrounded by pastry cut with little "nicks" to let the steam escape.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert



  • 2 Cup Dates pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Cup Dried Apricots coarsely chopped
  • ½ Cup Crystallized Ginger finely chopped
  • Cup Rum
  • ¼ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter diced

Sweet Shortcrust

  • 1 ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar
  • 7 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter chilled and diced
  • 1 Egg lightly beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoon Cold Water
  • 1 Egg beaten, to glaze

Rum Butter

  • 7 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter softened
  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • Cup Rum


  • In a medium bowl, mix together dates, apricots, ginger, rum, and sugar. Set aside and allow to soak.
  • Combine flour and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add the diced butter and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix the eggs, lemon juice, and water. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the egg mixture in.
  • Work the liquid into the flour and bring the pastry together. Gently knead into a ball. Wrap in baking paper and let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut the dough into two pieces (divided 1/3and 2/3rds) Roll out the larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface. Use this dough to line the pie dish leaving the excess hanging over the sides. 
  • Spread the filling in the pastry case and dot with the softened butter.
  • Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into 14 long, thin strips. Create a 7 by 7 stripe lattice.
  • Dampen the rim of the pastry with water before placing the lattice onto the tart. Press the ends of the lattice into the pastry rim to secure it. Crimp the edges with a fork.
  • Brush all visible pastry with the beaten egg.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, the reduce the heat to 315 degrees Fahrenheit and back for another 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  • To make rum butter, beat together the butter and sugar and smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the run.
  • Serve the tart with a spoonful of rum butter for each serving. Enjoy!!


Rum butter is optional for enjoyment
Keyword Apricots, Dates, Ginger, Pie, Rum

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