Photographs of some of the ingredients being prepared for the recipe, and a smiling young girl helping with the baking

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Cumberland Rum Nicky Recipe and History.

Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories and celebrate the achievements of Black and Brown people. By engaging with history we can find connections and learn from past mistakes. This year Anti Racist Cumbria, M-Unit and The Co-op have come together to share a local centuries old connection that Cumbria has with Black and Brown people.

The ingredients in this Cumberland Rum Nicky recipe originate from the 18th Century when Cumbria (or Cumberland and Westmorland as it was known then) was an important beneficiary in the highly lucrative trade of enslaved people.

In fact during this time Whitehaven was the third-largest port in England and a key part of the ‘Triangular Trade,’ trading cloth and other goods which were shipped to West Africa and exchanged for enslaved people, who were then shipped to the Caribbean to work under horrific conditions for free until the day they died. The products of that slave labour were then brought back to England and sold.

Major imports into Whitehaven and other Cumbrian ports were spices such as ginger, dried tropical fruits, rum and sugar. Everything you’ll find in this recipe! These products were expensive and rarer elsewhere in the UK but were prevalent in Cumbria and therefore these types of ingredients are found in many local recipes.

Working with M-Unit and the Co-Op there are stands across all four Carlisle shops which share this history and of course the recipe too! We hope you’ll think more about things we consider to be traditionally Cumbrian and understand that our history is Black History too.



Share your creations with us! Using #RumNickyBHM 


225g/8oz dates, coarsely chopped

100g/3½oz dried apricots, coarsely chopped

50g/2oz stem ginger in syrup, drained and finely chopped

50ml/2fl oz dark rum

50g/1¾oz soft dark brown sugar

50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, cut into 1–2cm/½-¾in cubes


100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened

225g/8oz soft light brown sugar

75ml/2½fl oz dark rum


200g/7oz plain flour

2 tbsp icing sugar

100g/3½oz unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1cm/½in cubes

1 free-range egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp lemon juice


22cm metal pie dish

Photographs of some of the ingredients being prepared for the recipe, and a smiling young girl helping with the baking


1. Start by mixing all the filling ingredients, except the butter, together in a bowl. Set aside to soak while you make the pastry.

2. For the sweet shortcrust pastry, mix the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub it in lightly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, do this in a food processor or a mixer and then transfer to a bowl.

3. Mix the egg with the lemon juice and two tablespoons of cold water. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Using a table knife, work the liquid into the flour to bring the pastry together. If it seems too dry, add a splash more water. When the dough begins to stick together, use your hands to gently knead it into a ball. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

5. Once the dough has rested, cut it into two pieces, roughly one-third and two-thirds. Roll out the larger piece on a lightly floured work surface. Line a 20cm/8in pie dish with the pastry, leaving any excess pastry hanging over the edge. Spread the filling in the pastry case and dot with the butter.

6. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut it into eight long strips, roughly 1cm/½in wide. On a sheet of baking parchment, use the pastry strips to create a lattice with four strips going each way, passing them under and over each other.

7. Dampen the edge of the pastry in the tin with water, then invert the lattice from the paper onto the tart. Press the ends of the strips to the pastry base to secure.

8.Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 160C/325F/Gas 3 and cook for a further 20 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, for the rum butter, beat together the butter and sugar, then gradually beat in the rum. Refrigerate until needed.

10. Serve the tart warm or cold, with a spoonful of rum butter.

A photograph of a home baked Cumberland Rum Nicky, on the table with a teapot and green plant. Alongside a photograph of a smiling black woman holding her home baked dessert!

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