Sunday, 10 July 2011

Queen of Hearts Jam Tarts

One of my all time favourite stories is the Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland and as Oxford, the home town of Carroll, celebrated “Alice Day” this weekend I couldn’t think of a better time to make these delicious jam tarts.

This bake is inspired by the chapter in the book entitled, “Who Stole the Tarts?” where Alice arrives in the courtroom to find that the Knave of Hearts is on trial for stealing the Queen of Hearts tarts. They are described as, “…so good, that it made Alice quite hungry to look at them.” The White Rabbit then reads the accusation which is that famous rhyme, “The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts, all on a summer day: The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts, and took them quite away!”

I always imagined those tarts to be the most wonderful tarts ever so here is my recipe for “Queen of Hearts Jam Tarts”. A buttery, crumbly pastry filled with fruity, sticky, sweet jam. They’re one of those bakes that are so simple yet so tasty, great if you’re new to pastry and kids love making them too! I guarantee they’ll be eaten up before you can say, “off with her head!”

Queen of Hearts Jam Tarts


225g plain flour
100g butter, chilled and cubed
3tbsp light muscovado sugar
1 orange, zest and juice
225g jam, flavour of your choice

For the pastry, rub the flour and butter together using your fingertips until it looks like course breadcrumbs then stir in the sugar and zest.

Add about 4 tablespoons of the orange juice to the pastry mix to make a fairly soft dough, kneading until smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30mins.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tin with butter. Roll out the pastry to a £1 coin thickness and use a round cutter to stamp out 12 circles of the pastry. Use the circles to line the muffin tin holes, a great tip is to use a little ball of the pastry to ease the dough into the holes without leaving fingerprints! Spoon about 1-1½ teaspoons of the jam equally between the 12 cases, spreading lightly with the back of the spoon.

Bake for 15-18mins in the middle of the oven until the pastry is golden and the jam is bubbling slightly. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

Belle's Top Tip
You can make these even more special by using your own homemade jam or head to somewhere like Fortnum and Mason’s in London where you can get an extensive range of different flavoured preserves including Damson, Passion Fruit, Rhubarb & Ginger and even Strawberry & Champagne!