Sunday, February 27, 2011

No Snow but Jam Tarts are Fine

Well, it snowed high up on the nearby hills Friday night but not here. It's been plenty cold; well below 24 degrees F the last two nights. Fun to see the car windows all frosted up and ice in the galvanized tub. Sweetie even covered up my geraniums to protect them from the frost.

These sweet little jam tarts are something I baked for the abortive Valentine's tea party. I was going to freeze them but they ended up in the back of the fridge and were forgotton. I used teh recipe for Bakewell Tarts that the Daring Bakers used a while back.

Yesterday Sweetie put another couple of sheets of plywood on his storage shed and I fixed him some hot tea in the afternoon to warm him up some. Found the jam tarts, too, so I warmed them slightly in the microwave while the water was coming to the boil for the tea. Due to the jam, they stayed amazingly moist and the freshening in the microwave worked really well...they were almost as good as fresh baked.

The recipe is for a full tart size...8 or 9 inches size...but I made them in two sizes. Four tarts were made in my two inch tart pans and the rest were made in my mini-muffin pans. We decided we liked the mini-muffin ones best although the larger ones were probably prettier.

You can use any jam you like. I had some good quality seedless raspberry jam from Kozlowski's Farms on hand so that's what I used. The almond flavors are dominant here, so use a jam that you'll like with almond flavors.

If you are going to use tart pans bigger than the mini-muffin size, you may want to roll out the tart dough for even depth. I just pushed a piece of the dough in the bottom of each cup for the mini-mufffin ones so that some of the dough came a bit up the sides to cradle the jam.

These really are a great treat with tea or coffee...just the thing for this time of year, snow or no.

Bakewell Tarts
by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

Elle's notes: To make smaller tarts or mini-tartlettes, roll out the pastry and use small cutters so that pastry bottom will fit your pans and come up the sides a bit to encase the jam. For really small pans you can just push a knob of pastry dough (about 1-2 teaspoons) into the bottom so that some comes up the sides a bit. Divide the jam among the tartletts and do the same for the filling. I found that putting the sliced almond piece(s) onto the filling before baking worked best.

Sweet shortcrust pastry
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

1 comment :

  1. Ah yes, the Bakewell tarts. Those were really good.