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Jam Tarts

Pies and Pastries

Small, shallow (c 3ins diameter, 1/2ins deep) sweet shortcrust open base filled with fruit jam and baked.

Although small, sweet, tarts of various sorts are known in England from the earliest times, as with the 15th Century fruit tart receipt below, 'jam tarts' could not appear until the West Indian trade had made sugar cheap, making jam popular. The earliest actual receipt we can find in a cookbook is just...

Original Receipt from 'A Plain Cookery Book for the Working Classes' by Charles Elme Francatelli (Francatelli 1846)

No. 103. JAM TART.
Prepare some paste (101) and use this to make a jam tart, as directed for making a mince-pie, using any kind of common jam, instead of mince-meat, for the purpose.

Jam Tarts
Image: www.talesfromahappyhouse.com

Jam tarts are now most usually made with plain paste and are round, but earlier versions could be a puff-type paste and might be square, as with:

Original Receipt in 'The Experienced English Housekeeper' by Elizabeth Raffald (Raffald 1769)

To make a light Paste for Tarts

Take one Pound of fine Flour, beat the White of an Egg to a strong Froth, mix it; with as much Water as will make three quarters of a Pound of Flour into a pretty stiff Paste, roll it out very thin, lay the third Part of half a Pound of Butter in thin Pieces, dredge it with Part of the quarter of your Flour left out far that Purpose, roll it up tight, then with your Paste Pin roll it out again, do so until all your half Pound of Butter and Flour is done, cut it in square Pieces, and make your Tarts. It requires a quicker Oven than crisp Paste.

Original Receipt in the 15th Century 'Austin Manuscripts' (Austin 1440)

xj. Tartes of Frute in lente - Take Fygys & sethe hem wyl tyl şey ben neyssche; şan bray hem in a morter, & a pece of Milwel şer-with; take ham vppe & caste roysonys of coraunce şer-to; şan take Almaundys & Dates y-schred şer-to; şan take pouder of Pepir & meng with-al; şen putte it on şin cofynne, & Safroun şin cofynn a-boue, & opyn hem a-bowte şe myddel; & ouer-cast şe openyng vppon şe lede, [lid. ] & bake hym a lytel, & serue forth.

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