Jam and Lemon Curd Tarts
A delicious little treat enjoyed by all ages and probably the “go to” bake when needing to use pastry offcuts. Home baked jam tarts however can lack the "look" that commercially produced ones have even though any home made tart will win when it comes to taste. Try my method and your tarts will be top with style as well as substance.
Start by making the pastry.
Much quicker with a food processor fitted with a blade but can be made by hand. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the processor then add the chilled cubed butter and blitz for no more than 10 seconds until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running then add the egg and water mix in a thin steady stream. Allow the machine to mix the dough into a ball then take from the bowl, wrap in a beeswax wrap and rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
I roll pastry between two sheets of plastic then no additional flour is required and the pastry result is light and crisp.
Once the pastry is rested then roll out to an even thickness and to a circle about 12 inches in diameter. The pastry will be about the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out 12 pastry rounds – you will need to re-roll the trimmings for the final three or so. Do not stretch or twist the pastry when you cut it out. This will result in oval rather than round pastry shells. If the pastry becomes sticky or difficult to handle – pop it into the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.
Brush lining paste into each of the holes of the tart tin then fit the pastry circles. Chill the tin and the pastry for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
After the 30 minutes and when the oven is to temperature then take the chilled tin with the pastry shells and gently lay over the second tin, having first brushed the underside with a light smear of lining paste – not much – just a smear.
Important – do not press the second tin onto the pastry – just lay over gently. This second tin is in effect allowing the shells to “blind bake” and hold them in place preventing them from puffing up or shrinking.
Bake for 11-12 minutes.
Take from the oven and carefully remove the top tin. The shells should be light golden brown around the edges with a slightly waxy looking base. Pop them back into the oven without the second tin so that the bases dry out. Allow just 3-4 minutes.
Take from the oven and leave the cases in the tin.
To prepare the jam and lemon curd fillings.
The jam and lemon curd needs to be slackened off to a pouring consistency.
Place the jam in a saucepan and add the water. Stir and warm through over a gently heat until the jam slackens to a very thick pouring consistency. You may need more or less water depending on the type of jam. Pour into the shells whilst hot. Alternatively, pop the jam and water into a microwave proof jug and heat for just 20 seconds so that the jam is softened. You may have to repeat to get a pouring consistency.
I find it easier to transfer the jam to a jug and then pour into the baked shells right to the top. Leave in the tin until the jam has set.
For the lemon curd tarts – either slacken off using water as with the jam or for extra flavour add the cornflour to the lemon curd in a small saucepan, stir that through so that there are no lumps then whisk in elderflower drink. Once warm and of pouring consistency pour into the pastry shells then leave to set.
For special occasions or for afternoon tea these little tarts can look really top end. Try a little water icing, a few edible flowers (tiny ones) – lilac, elderflower, forget-me-not.
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