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Jam Tarts

Sometimes you just need a good, old fashioned, home made treat. And these are the best kind of treat – they’re easy (ish, depending on how you feel about making pastry), and also shop-free (although this may or may not add to the ‘treat-factor’), in so far as I generally have the wherewithal for these in the house.

So, late night craving for something sweet fulfilled, this is what I did. The pastry recipe is borrowed from (where else?) Nigella’s How To Eat, although I did make it by hand rather than in the processor, as suggested, as the machine in question is still on my Christmas list.

Jam Tarts (makes 12)

  • 120g plain flour
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 80g butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 egg yolk (freeze the white!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 12 generous teaspoons of your favourite jam

Sieve the flour and sugar into a bowl and add the cubed butter. Rub together until the contents of the bowl resembles breadcrumbs, and there are no big lumps of fat left.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolk, vanilla and cold water together. Add to the flour and butter mixture and stir together. You’re aiming for everything to come together into a doughy ball, and you may need to add a little more cold water, a drop at a time, to achieve this. A little kneading might be necessary to bring everything together, but don’t bash it around too much. When you have a ball of pastry, flatten it a little to make a disc (it will chill quicker), wrap it in cling film and pop it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180°C, and very lightly brush the holes of a 12-hole jam tart tin (I’m sure this isn’t its primary purpose but not sure what it’s called. Yorkshire pudding tray? You know the one.) with a little vegetable oil to stop the tarts from sticking.

Remove the pastry from the fridge. Lightly flour the surface and your rolling pin, and then roll out the pastry until it’s about 1/2 a centimetre thick. (Or thereabouts – no need to get your ruler out.) Cut out circles to fit the holes in your baking tray – I used a 6cm circle cutter. You should be able to get 12 if you’re making them a similar size to mine, although you may need to squeeze all of the dough back into a ball and re-roll.

Gently place each circle of pastry onto the tray and push down in the middle to create your little tart cases. Add a generous teaspoon or so of jam to each, trying not to spill over the edges of the pastry or you may end up with sticky, burnt bits of jam.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, checking after 10, until the edges of the pastry begin to turn golden. Leave to cool in the tray for five minutes, then carefully remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack. These are delicious a little warm, but you don’t need me to tell you that the jam will be extremely hot when they come out of the oven, so try and resist the temptation to eat them right away.

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