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 a simple pleasure
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.
Jam, bread and butter
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.
Shortcrust pastry - no problem
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.
Put a lid on your pie
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.
... or throw it on
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.
Jam tart, a work of art
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.