Cake sized jam tart coming up and it’s so delicious you might want it all to yourself. Plus, no rolling pin needs to be involved in the action, and the pastry is the loveliest, soft and easy sweet shortcrust. Let’s be honest: everybody loves a jam tart.
Jam tart is only a step up from an old fashioned butter and jam toast, or PBJ on the other side of the ocean. It comes in various sizes, from jammy dodgers good for about two chomps to a full blown cherry pie that feeds twelve with coffee.
Toasted white bread spread with butter and strawberry jam is, as I said, the baseline. Go one step further, buy a shortcrust pastry case from a supermarket, fill it with jam and bake – home bake it, you might even say. Next level: a block of shortcrust which you’ll then roll out, chill, blind bake, jam and close with a lid. And once you reach that far, making your own pastry is really not an effort at all, it’s cheaper and you know exactly what goes in there.
What goes in isn’t much: flour and butter are the foundation of good pastry. Some add egg, others don’t – eggless pastry is too crumbly to my taste. If you want to make neutral crust, don’t add sugar but as I see it, we’re making a dessert here, right? Sugar is a given.
The lid of every pie or tart is the trickiest bit. I have tried latticing but with modest success – the part of my brain responsible for visualising spatial geometry of interweaving strips has been in a coma since sixth form. Full lid is a bit like a coffin: boring and sombre. The easiest and most effective is the art-farty method of cutting out shapes and throwing them nonchalantly all over the filling to create closure.
But this is even easier: crumbling the remaining pastry over jam. And this particular recipe – combined contributions from Wednesday Chef and David Lebovitz – makes very soft, pliable pastry which melts over the jam filling beautifully, enabling the contented consumers to grab a slice with their fingers like a hand pie.
I promise you will make it again and again once you give it a try. It certainly belongs with life’s simple but exquisite pleasures. For the more discerning, sophisticated (or so you think) tart connoisseur there are those challenging delights of British Bakewell tart, aforesaid American cherry pie with its companions key lime and pumpkin, gateaux Breton and Basque, torta della nonna, Dutch vlaai and Canadian butter tarts. Worldwide, we might disagree on what constitutes a pie, a tart, Kuchen or flan; whether all puddings are desserts or all desserts puddings; whether pasta is always noodles and biscuits baked twice, but everybody loves a good piece of jammy treat.
jam tartServings: 10-12Time: 45 minutes plus chilling pastry
- 125g (1 stick plus 1 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
- 100g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 190g (1½ cups) plain flour
- 60g (½ cup) fine cornmeal or polenta
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- zest grated from 1 lemon
- ½ jar (7-10 tbsp.) raspberry or strawberry jam
1. Beat the butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the yolk, scraping the sides of the bowl.
2. Stir together the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and lemon zest in another bowl and add it gradually to the mix, beating at low speed, until it balls up and comes together.
3. Divide the mixture in two portions, about 2/3 and 1/3 for base and top of the tart (about 190g and 370g), wrap them separately in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5.
5. Press the large portion of the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 20-23cm (9-10”) tart or springform tin.
6. Spread the jam over the tart base. Crumble the other portion of the dough all over the jam.
7. Bake the tart in the lower half of the oven for 20-25 minutes until it’s light golden on top. Cool in the tin.