On lazy days when I'm not going out and don't have much to do I love to make jam tarts for tea. It's not something familiar to most Americans and even in England jam tarts are most often associated with a nursery tea. But I say jam tarts are not just for the English or age specific! Just ask Steve who loves a tart. Let me rephrase that. Steve loves a jam tart. In any event, there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting in the garden with a good book, a thermos of tea, jam tarts and nothing to do but enjoy a leisurely hour reading, nibbling, and relaxing in a shady garden.
The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts all on a summer's day;The Knave of Hearts he stole the tarts and took them clean away. The King of Hearts called for the tarts and beat the Knave full sore; The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts and vowed he'd steal no more.
Probably the most difficult part of this recipe is finding a suitable tart mold and removing the tarts from the mold without them crumbling. You need shallow molds for small tarts (approximately 2 inches across and 1/4 inch deep) and the closest that I've seen in recent years are mince pie pans which really are too deep. Unfortunately if your tart molds are too deep you'll never get the tarts out with this flaky crust without them crumbling. I found my tart molds in a specialty cookware shop many years ago and you might try a British cookware shop. If you don't have proper shallow molds, you could try simply cutting out circles of dough and folding up the edges and baking them on a cookie sheet and not worry if a little jam bubbles over the edge. Alternative (and I've done this myself on occasion) you can simply substitute the dough with half a pie dough recipe which does hold up better and is easier to remove from the modern (deeper) tart molds. If you want to use a pie dough my recipe can be found here. But for a really authentic jam tart using a very flaky crust is best and that's why I've shared this particular recipe that came with my tart pan.
RECIPE(18 small tarts):
Pastry Dough (this is a very flaky crust):
2 cups all purpose flour (or pastry flour)
1/2 cup sweet butter
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening (crisco)
Pinch of salt
small bowl of ice cold water mixed with a splash of white vinegar (approximately 3 tablespoons)
2 tsp. raspberry, cherry, fig or other jam of your choice
dash of ground ginger (optional)
1 egg white
Course white Sugar
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees;
2. Butter and flour tart molds;
3. Make pastry dough as follows:
Combine pastry flour and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Cut in butter and vegetable shortening.. Sprinkle in ice water mixture 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture tossed with a fork begins to form a dough (approximately 3 tablespoons). Kneed dough gently a couple of times right in the mixing bowl. Divide dough in half and refrigerate both halves in plastic wrap for 5 minutes;
4. Roll out dough and cut circles for tarts. Place dough circles on tart tray and fill with jam. Sprinkle tarts with course white sugar; and
5. Bake approximately 12-15 minutes or until jam is bubbling. Check on tarts after 12 minutes and cover tarts with aluminum foil to avoid burning if tarts aren't bubbling yet and need to cook longer and have are already browned (jam must boil or it will not "set").
6. Allow tarts to cool in pan 10 minutes before removing from molds and finishing cooling on wire rack. The extra time in the pan allows the crust to firm up a bit which helps prevent crumbling.
These tarts are particularly nice while still warm from the oven. Enjoy!