A decade of The Pudding Stop
- Credit: Michael Feather Photography
It’s been a while since I wrote about The Pudding Stop – in fact, it’s been 10 years since Johnny Shepherd started selling his puds and bakes at the Pudmobile outside St Albans train station, following his appearance on The Great British Bake Off.
It is now one of our best-known and most-loved Herts food businesses, and in good news, they have just opened a shop in Harpenden and a new bakery in Redbourn.
I visited the Harpenden shop, which is in a great spot next to M&S and overlooking Church Green. Its open every day, 10am-6pm, and there is seating inside, as well as a counter and fridge full of delicious bakes for you to take away.
What to choose? Brownies, blondies, custard tarts, doughnuts, bakewell tarts, pain au chocolat… so many delicious options. I went seasonal and chose a toffee apple doughnut, and a pot of Rooibos tea. Oh my goodness – that doughnut was so good! This might sound unlikely, but it wasn’t too sweet, so you can taste the flavours, rather than be overwhelmed by sugar – a grown-up doughnut.
One of the things I like about Pud Stop is that they keep innovating and coming up with new bakes, and I took a S’mores Cookie Cup topped with delicate meringue home for the teen – very Instagram-worthy. But don’t worry – they also sell the perennial favourites, such as sticky toffee pudding and bramley apple crumble. You can sit in and have a bake or hot pud, and you can add milk ice cream and/or salted caramel or chocolate sauce.
One of the cool things about Pud Stop when it first opened the shop in St Albans is that you could go there after dinner, and get something really good, rather than some of the lacklustre puds sold in local restaurants. At the moment, they aren’t open in the evenings in Harpenden as they settle into the new work patterns, but watch this space.
St Albans is open until 8pm at the weekends. In the meantime, you can buy puds to bake at home, whether a single portion or to share. These bake at home puds have been so popular they now also sell in Selfridges and Panzer’s.
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Buttermilk waffles are fairly new to the menu, and these are served each morning until midday. You can top with salted butter, blueberries, maple syrup and/or chocolate. Climpson & Sons supply the coffee, which is excellent, and they also do chai lattes, hot chocolates and milkshakes.
The interior is spacious and stylish – a quick shout out to the door handles shaped like oven mitts – love those. One of the employees had matching earmuffs.
As the company has grown (Johnny now employs around 30 people) he needed to get a bakery site rather than squeeze into the space above the St Albans shop, and he jumped at the chance to open in Redbourn. They bake all week, but are only open to the public on Saturday and Sunday mornings (9am-1pm), with benches outside, which I imagine will be very popular with locals and visiting cyclists.
It has been an impressive 10+ years for The Pudding Stop, with its careful, steady growth and commitment to high quality. I have no doubt its presence in Herts has encouraged many other indie entrepreneurs to start up in the area, which we have all benefited from. Long may it continue!