Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jam Tarts for Tea!

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)

Jam filling:
2 tsp. raspberry, cherry, fig or other jam of your choice
dash of ground ginger (optional)

Egg wash:
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!


Denise said...

Well you know being from England I would have loved to join you for afternoon tea today and share some of your lovely tarts (only I don't like tea, so I'd have to have coffee ;-)
My mam always made jam tarts, it was a way to use up the left over pastry when she'd been baking pies. Funny, I've never thought to make my daughter any! and I know she'd love them, (it's sweet and sticky, need I say more). And I do have the tart tray, actually bought it while I still lived in England. We make mince meat tarts in them at Christmas! Have you ever tried those? Here's a link you might like


Pat K said...

Yummm! I love anything with raspberry. And what kind of tea are you serving with the tarts?

tiennie said...

How delicious! It looks so yummy.

jillian said...

The tarts and wonderful and all, but it's the Puffy biscuit that really makes it :)

Monika said...

Those Tarts look very delicious, and the right size too! What a lovely set-up for having tea, and I see Mr.Puffy will have his cookie too. :o)

Anonymous said...

Your tea time looks lovely (and tasty). And while watching Emma? Nothing could be better than a little Jane A in the afternoon.

Anonymous said...

What a delightful tea time! It warms my heart to see Mr Puffy's biscuit, to know that I'm not the only one who takes tea with my dog(s).

Thanks too for the recipe. Perhaps there will be baking time in my weekend agenda...

Hilary said...

Yummmm....thanks for sharing the recipe! Sounds like you had a wonderful afternoon. Tea, tarts, flowers, and a Jane Austen-based movie? What could be better??!

knitting dragonfly said...

Yummy and I give you points for appearence and presentation also! Good job.
I don't gain any weight if I just look, right?

Sherry said...

Your tea tray is so beautiful. You certainly have a knack for creating a pleasant setting. The tarts look amazing & naturally you didn't forget Mr. Puffy's treat.

Anonymous said...

Hi Claudia,
Jane & I have been trying to send you email re: the group schedule, but it has been bouncing .... you have our email addresses. Hope to hear from you, and the tarts look great!
-- Margot

Anonymous said...

Glad you clarified what kind of tart Steve prefers. LOL.

Your tea tray always looks so nice and it seems Mr. Puffy has quite a fan club judging from the number of comments about the doggie biscuit you included.

Knitted Gems said...

I don't think I have ever had a jam tart. They look delicious though! I can't blame Steve for being a lover of them.