If, like me, you grew up with Enid Blyton’s books, you’ll understand my fascination with treacle pudding, scones, ‘fat slices of fruit cake’ aaaaaaaand jam tarts! I’d read their descriptions and crave absolutely all of them. I’m talking early 90s in India when there weren’t bakeries sprouting up everywhere and the ones you did see, just didn’t cut it.
So, when a friend recently asked me to try jam tarts, a major flashback happened and I had to make them. There’s something ridiculously good about spoonfuls of jam in little pastry shells. Makes me feel like I’m picnicking in the woods, just before going out to solve a mystery with my cousins and dog 🙂
Flour, butter and jam. That’s it. Easy way to nostalgia 🙂
I needed the theory of baking jam tarts and this Jamie Oliver recipe helped but I didn’t want to make the pastry with egg. Neither did I want to bake the tarts only after putting in the jam. My Wholewheat Fruit Tarts taught me that tart shells need to be pre-baked or they go soggy when you add the filling.
So, I jumped in the deep end, used my head, made my own shortcrust pastry, estimated baking time, watched my oven like a hawk and ta da! Awesome buttery, flaky, jammy jam tarts! Yay for slowly learning to create my own recipes!
The flaky crusts were a totalyl happy accident. Lumps of butter in the flour always lead to flakiness I’ve read, and I guess there were some in mine 🙂 Whee!
I used homemade plum jam from the Neemrana hotel in Matheran (also in my post on scones), and orange marmalade we bought in Coorg. I realise we sound like a couple that goes around buying jam all over the country, but it was just these two, I swear 🙂 The marmalade was runny though, so until I refrigerated the tart, it hadn’t set properly. The plum jam bubbled and thickened beautifully in the oven and the tarts pulled away from their little moulds easily, so tipping them out wasn’t a disaster.
I sprinkled a bit of castor sugar on the jam before baking, so that’s an optional fourth ingredient if the jams you use aren’t too sweet. Otherwise, just three 🙂
I bought the tart moulds a while ago at Arife in Crawford Market. Just four of them, to experiment a bit so I made a very small amount of dough. Making the dough is super easy too, nothing messy or difficult. Quick mixing, chilling, rolling and filling. Easy peezy.
Go dig out your Famous Fives and get started!
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup regular flour
1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 tsps of your favourite jam(s)
1 tbsp ice cold water
A sprinkling of sugar (only if your jams aren’t sweet enough)
What to do:
1. In a bowl, add the flour and chopped butter and rub together with your fingertips till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. The butter has to be cold for good pastry and if there are some lumps, don’t worry, it makes it flaky and yum 🙂
2. Add the ice cold water and knead gently into a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
3. Unwrap the dough, lightly flour your kitchen counter after cleaning and drying it completely. Roll out the dough till it is about 5 mm thick, making sure it’s the same thickness all round.
4. Using your tart moulds or a cookie cutter, cut out circles of the dough and press them gently into the moulds, keeping the edges thinner than the bottom. Poke the bottom of the pastry with a fork to release any air bubbles and stop the pastry from puffing up too much in the oven.
5. Bake for 10 minutes, till the pastry is cooked and turning golden-brown.
6. Fill the moulds with a teaspoon of jam each, sprinkle a bit of sugar on the top if needed, and bake again for 10 minutes till the filling is thick and bubbling.
7. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and then unmould. A sharp knife helps to prise out stubborn pastry.
Feel all Enid Blyton-y 🙂
P.S. You can bake these tarts in muffin moulds too, they turn out just fine. The next post will have what I made with the leftover tart dough 🙂