Jam and lemon curd tarts: buttery, flaky pastry cases holding your choice of sweet filling
I can’t believe I haven’t made jam tarts before. If you’re in a hurry, you can use ready-to-roll, shop-bought pastry.
I looked through a lot of recipes and there’s lots of variation for the pastry ingredients. If you’re looking for a vegan option, you can use baking margarine instead of butter, plus plain flour and water, leaving out the egg. There’s a recipe for that method at Baking Mad.
I adapted this recipe from one I found at BBC goodfood.
If you’re not a fan of jam or lemon curd, you can bake the tart cases without any filling, wait for them to cool and then fill them with chocolate hazelnut spread or another filling of your choice.
- 250 g / 8.8 oz plain flour (and a bit more to dust your rolling surface and rolling pin)
- 125 g / 4.4 oz butter or baking margarine (although butter is slightly better for pastry)
- 1 egg (medium or large)
- Optional: 1 or 2 tbsp cold water
- Up to 100 g / 3.5 oz jam or lemon curd of your choice
You can put the ingredients in a stand mixer to beat them together, but I prefer to make the pastry by hand. Use your fingers to rub the butter and flour together. When the mixture has a breadcrumb-like texture, add the egg and use a knife to mix it through until you have a firm dough which comes together in a ball. If necessary, add 1 tbsp of cold water and use your hands to work the water into the dough to give it added elasticity.
I did add a tablespoon of water to my dough because when I pressed the dough together (as I would if I had been rolling it) it cracked quite a lot. So I decided it could do with the water. You can add 1 more tbsp of water if you think it’s needed, but don’t add more than 2 in total.
Wrap the ball of dough in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes. You can make the dough in advance and keep it in the fridge overnight. However, if you do you’ll have to take it out and let it warm up to room temperature before you can roll it.
Rub a little butter into each hole in a 12-hole baking tin (cupcake tin or similar). Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C (160 fan) / 356 degrees F/ Gas Mark 6.
Dust your countertop or chopping board with a little flour. Roll out your pastry until it’s about 3mm (1/8th inch) thick. I prefer to cut my pastry into quarters before rolling it, so I only have to work with a small amount at a time.
Use a round cutter with a straight or fluted edge to cut out 12 pastry circles. My cutter is 8cm (3.2 inch) in diameter but one a little larger would also work.
If you have any leftover dough, you can cut out some shapes to put on top of the jam tarts. I cut out some hearts and stars.
Gently push the pastry circles into the holes in the baking tin. As an optional step, you can use a fork to prick the bottom of the pastry cases. This is to prevent the pastry rising. But don’t push the fork all the way through the pastry or you risk the jam leaking through the base of the tarts.
Put a teaspoon of jam or lemon curd into each of the pastry cases. Don’t get too enthusiastic with how much filling you put in or it will spill up and over the edges of the pastry cases when in the oven. If you’ve cut out any small pastry shapes, put these on top of the fillings. If you have any spare shapes, just pop them on the spaces between the holes on the baking tin to cook them – as I did with 2 small pastry hearts, as you can see in the picture below.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the fillings are bubbling (the lemon curd will boil before the jam does). Remove and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
If you like, dust with icing sugar before serving.
The jam tarts will keep for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
A plea from this baker/writer
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