Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Jam Tarts

Last week I was down in Essex visiting my family as I'd not seen them since November and not been home since August.  For some reason, being home resulted into a brief nostalgia moment as I thought to myself 'I've not made jam tarts'.  Jam tarts are one of my Dad's favourite things but I don't remember them being made in our house since I was a little girl.  My mother used to make them quite often.  I did consider trying my hand at them whilst there, but alas we had no jam.  I also don't trust the oven.  It's too complicated for my liking.  A shame since I would have liked to make jam tarts for my Dad.  Maybe next time.  I think I need more practice anyway.

However, once back in Scotland I still felt a need to try them and we have a stockpile of jam in this house.  So today I made 12 little tarts, 6 with raspberry jam and 6 with strawberry.  The pastry recipe came from The Best of Mrs Beeton's Cakes and Baking, which was sitting in our kitchen in Essex.  I made note of a few recipes I wanted to try, the shortcrust pastry among them.

The result....was not quite right.  I left them in the oven much longer than I should have done since I wasn't sure if the pastry was cooked properly.  It wasn't soggy or anything but it didn't seem to be changing colour, which is what I expected it to do.  This meant that they ended up having the consistency of Jammy Dodgers.  Of course, my boyfriend and I like Jammy Dodgers so we didn't see this as a bad thing.  Unfortunately, not very jam tartish.  Next time I'll take them out the oven when I'm meant to.

I also decided to try using a wheat and gluten free flour for the pastry, since my boyfriend's Mum isn't eating wheat at the moment.  Despite Jammy Dodger texture, I believe it worked fine as a substitute.

Recipe - Adapted from Mrs Beeton's Lemon Tartlets
Makes about 12 6cm diameter tarts

  • 100g/4oz plain flour (either regular or wheat free)
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • Some water
  • About 18 tsp worth of jam in the flavour of your choice
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/395°F/Gas 6.
  2. Grease a 12 shallow holed baking tray.
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
  4. Add the butter and rub together between your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  5. Add water until you get a stiff dough.  I ended up using about 7 tsp of water.  Just add a couple of tsp at a time until you get the right consistency.  Press dough together with your fingers after each addition of water.
  6. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and use cookie cutters to cut out the tarts.  This can be really tricky and you may need to add tiny bits of water to stop the dough drying out too much due to the flour on the surface.  You should have enough dough for 12 without any leftovers.
  7. Spoon 1.5 tsp of jam into each tart.  As I said, I did 6 each or strawberry and raspberry jam.  No need for blind baking as nothing went soggy.
  8. Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. (I had mine in for about 45, which is why I got Jammy Dodger tarts instead).
  9. Cool on a rack.  Do not eat straight from the oven as the jam will be very, very hot.

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