Jam Tarts

Dan & Kathy recently returned from a trip to London and Paris so I thought I would make some British jam tarts for Kathy’s belated birthday celebration. They were very cute and colorful but a good warning to give is that when you use jam filling, it will bubble up everywhere, especially when you use a jam with less pieces of fruit inside. The chunkier preserves stayed more stable. They were all delicious.

I can’t believe it, I thought I took a picture, but I didn’t! They were so cute and I hand cut little shapes for the top pastry layer… I didn’t have small cutters. Dan said it looked like lucky charm shapes, hearts, moons, stars, and diamonds. My knife skills didn’t allow for more. 🙂   They looked very similar to this photo (taken from BBC’s Good Food, but I didn’t follow their recipe):

tarts

I tested it with jams that we had in the house: raspberry (Smuckers), black currant (Bonne Maman), and cherry (Trader Joe’s). The raspberry and the cherry tied for favorites. The raspberry jam bubbled up a lot, though not enough fruit. I would use a better preserve next time. Black currant was a bit too sweet for us and while it performed the best by not splattering everywhere, it didn’t stand out enough. The cherry was great because it had large cherry halves in it, tasted like little pies! Tartness is needed to balance the delicious but buttery shortbread pastry. These would be great with lemon curd too.  Chris wants me to make it with apricot jam next time.

I made a number of modifications to this recipe if you would like to see the original.

JAM TARTS

YIELDS 18+

  • 8 ounces plain flour
  • 4 ounces butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons cold water
  • flour, for dusting
  • jam for filling: use any kind – I tested raspberry, black currant, and cherry. Favorites were raspberry and cherry.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the butter and blend it in using your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Use a fork to blend in the water, adding a little at a time until the mixture comes together and you can form a ball with your hands.
  3. Wrap the pastry in a piece of plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes – this will make it easier to roll out.
  4. Turn the oven on to 400°F.
  5. Sprinkle the work surface and your rolling pin with a little flour and roll the pastry out to about 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Dip the cutter in flour then cut out as many circles as you can – I didn’t reroll the scraps and made 18 circles. You can make more with the scraps, but make sure you leave a little of the pastry scraps for the decorative pastry lids. Once you have the desired amount of circles, roll out the pastry scraps and cut out the required amount of toppers.
  7. Lay the rounds of pastry in a well-buttered mini muffin tin or tart tin and press them gently into place. Prick the base of each tart once with a fork.
  8. Put the tart tray into the oven and bake for 6 minutes until the pastry is very pale golden.
  9. Carefully put 1 heaped teaspoon of jam into each tart, and then top them off with a pastry top. Bake for another 12 minutes until jam is bubbling and pastry has just begun to have darker golden edging.
  10. Leave them to cool (not too long or the jam glues them to the tin) then gently lift the tarts out and leave to cool on a rack or plate.

Salmon with Dill and Lemon

I have been craving salmon lately (must be the winter thing, all of this cold weather hibernation may have turned me into a bear). I never cook it at home because of the smelly house factor, but it wasn’t bad at all this time, perhaps because I cooked it in our toaster oven/broiler (a Cuisinart), or I just had a stuffed nose that day.

This was delicious. Wild sockeye salmon, that dark salmony color, lovely.

I served it with asparagus (which I overcooked by mistake) and a delicious side of braised lentils with Berkshire bacon (Fresh

Direct made it, not me). The lentils paired really well with it and had a slight vinegar tang that was perfect.

salmon

Ingredients:

  • two 6-8 oz pieces of wild salmon with skin
  • 1 lemon, half in thin slices and half for juice
  • 4-5 sprigs dill, chopped
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Cut a piece of tin foil to fit the broiler/toaster oven tray but don’t put it on tray yet.
  2. Preheat toaster oven/broiler to 475 F. Leave tray in oven to preheat.
  3.  Spray foil square with olive oil.
  4. Place fish on foil skin side down, spray fish with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Squeeze lemon over fish and top with chopped dill. Cover with lemon slices (really only need 2 slices to cover each piece).
  6. Slide tray out of toaster oven and place foil with salmon on top. Bittman’s recipe for Roasted Salmon with Butter in How to Cook Everything: The Basics suggested 8-12 minutes [I didn’t use that recipe but checked it for the cooking temp and time] but the salmon was really too under-cooked for us, we like it totally cooked through. I left it in for about 15-18 minutes but it’s likely that my toaster oven cooks at a much different rate than a real oven, the heating element is below the rack. Check it after 8 for your own tastes. When the meat flakes easily it is ready.