Sunday, 28 October 2012

bramble and liquorice jam tarts



... one of the good things I took away from my recent hideous television cooking 'show' experience was a pot of Braken Hill Bramble and Liquorice Jelly... I was totally enamoured with the combination and The Viking is a massive fan of liquorice so I knew i'd be on to a winner. We don't really eat a massive amount of jam here at Belleau Cottage, it tends instead to go into cakes and biscuits or is left folournly in the back of a cupboard waiting for guests who love their jam and toast in the morning so when Karen and Kate, the two tea time treats temptresses chose jam as the theme for this months challenge my thoughts went immediately to this little pot of jewelled loveliness...

... i've been experimenting with pastry quite a bit lately.  I think it's the influence of the brilliant Great British Bake Off and with the Masterclasses now on television with Paul and Mary making everything look so patronisingly easy i've been giving all kinds of things a chance... i'm even having a go at puff pastry this weekend... and so earlier this week I made a cream-cheese pastry for a sausage pie, the cream cheese makes the pastry very delicate, is not too overpowering and works very well will savoury and sweet dishes...I had quite a bit of straggly pastry left over and we all know what to make with left over pastry... jam tarts!


bramble and liquorice jam tarts
i'm very excited because for the first time ever I am attending the incredible Willow Manor Ball... The Viking and I are dressed and ready to go now... in fact, as I type this I can hear the Chinook helicopter circling above the cottage ready to whisk us off for a night of debauched revelry...and of course with the time difference between here and Ohio we shall arrive just as the party is in full swing.  As a special gift for all the glamorous guests I am taking a large wicker hamper full of these gloriously jewelled jam tarts which shall be handed around to each guest by my own personal valet... and what am I wearing to this incredible event... well we thought we'd go for the full traditional morning suit - in fact here's a little snap I took of us getting ready earlier today... champagne always in hand of course, darlings... won't you join us there...



can't believe i'm giving you a recipe for jam tarts but here goes...
for the pastry
8oz plain flour
4oz butter
2oz full fat cream cheese

for the filling
a jar of jam

- in a large bowl, crumble the flour and butter together with your hands until it forms fine crumbs, then add the cream cheese and bring together with a round-headed knife, you may need to add a drop or two of water to bind it into a dough but this should be added very sparingly and only if you need it

- wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins

- once chilled roll the pastry out out nice and thin and using a scone cutter, cut the dough into circles that are just larger than your tart tin

- place the cut circles into the tin, fill each one with a teaspoon of jam and bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes or until the jam has melted and the pastry is beginning to turn golden

- I crumbled some left-over carrot and coconut cake onto some of the tarts just before they came out of the oven, which added a lovely textured topping...

eat and of course go wild at willow manor!

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