Monday, 9 December 2013

Franzijam Tarts

Here's my tribute to the trusty jam tart, a childhood teatime favourite that was always enough incentive for me to finish even the most vegetable-laden of dinners. Although I am now (sort of) a grown up I still find the allure of buttery and biscuity shortcrust pastry along with sweet, sticky jam almost irresistible, so thought I'd try and come up with my own version, albeit with a nifty nutty twist.

There are a few different ingredients and processes involved in creating these little gems, but I assure you they are still very simple to make. In fact they are a great introduction to pastry if you are new to the joys of making it from scratch and richly satisfying to make, as well as to munch on. Just try to use the highest quality of jam you can afford, as it will make a big difference to the finished tarts and be generous with your fillings. 'Tis the season of giving after all!

Prep time: 30 Mins (Plus 30 Mins resting time for your pastry)
Baking time: 30-35 Mins
For the pastry
100g Plain Flour
65g Unsalted Butter (Cut into small cubes)
1/2tbsp Icing Sugar
1 Egg Yolk

100g Marzipan (Cut into four cubes)
Around 6-7tbsp Jam (I used blueberry jam)

For the frangipane
50g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
50g Caster Sugar
50g Ground Almonds
1 Egg Yolk

So if you're ready, let us begin. Rub the flour into the butter, until you are left with a breadcrumb like consistency and no visible lumps of butter. Add the icing sugar and egg yolk, mix lightly with a knife, then get your hands in and bring it together to a loose dough. Tip out onto a clean, dry surface, then continue bringing the dough together with your hands until smooth. Try not to overwork the pastry or it will become too elastic. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill for around 30 minutes.

When the dough has rested in the fridge, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and grease four of the cups of a muffin tray with a little butter. Lightly dust a clean, dry surface with flour and place the chilled dough onto it. With a floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out into a large thin square (no thicker than a pound coin). Divide the square into four and place each into the greased muffin cups. Work the pastry into the cups so they are completely lined, ensuring there are no crack or splits in the pastry and you have around 1-2cm of pastry overhanging the edge (although it doesn't really matter if it overhangs by more). Don't worry if you have to break some of the pastry off of one side to repair another. You won't even notice it once they are baked.

Take one of the small cubes of marzipan and roll it into a small disc, the size of the base of the muffin cup. I just do this with my hands. Place the marzipan disc onto the base of pastry then cover with around 1.5tbsp of jam. To make the frangipane, cream together the butter and caster sugar, then add the almonds and egg yolk and mix until evenly combined. Dollop equal amounts of the frangipane on top of the jam then place the tarts in the centre of the oven for around 30-35 minutes, until golden brown on top. You may find the overhanging edge of the pastry darkens considerably, which is not a problem at all.

When you are happy they are baked remove from the oven, leaving the tarts in the tray for around 20-30 minutes. Gently remove each tart from the tray and place on a wire rack. With a sharp knife carefully trim the excess pastry from the edge of each tart and leave to cool. Your work is now done and it's time to try one. Enjoy!

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