Jam and almond sponge tarts – served with childhood memories.

7 May

I remember as a small child helping my Grandma make these little tarts.  I don’t know if the recipe was hers or not but I loved cutting out the pastry and carefully putting the jam in the centre.  I wasn’t allowed to spoon the sponge mix on top as it was considered too difficult but I was allowed to do the best job of all – lick out the bowl at the end!  I imagined that everyone would have a childhood memory like this but that is not so.  My husband, for one, was not given home-made cakes so this memory is, for him, an adult one.  Mind you, he licks the bowl out with just as much relish as I did as a child.

I like to think I have carried on the tradition of making cakes and cooking with my own Grandchildren.  The eldest two, Danny and Hayden, used to cook with me every week.  To start with I used to get them cutting up vegetables etc but as time went on they wanted to do the actual cooking so I was relegated to the peeling and chopping.  I think Danny used to fancy himself as another Ainsley Harriet and I dread to think what the neighbours thought when he was yodeling!  Now my youngest Grandson loves cooking with me.  We started off with jam tarts.  I would make the tarts then he would make something similar out of the left over pastry.  It usually ended up looking quite black and unattractive but we all had to try one of his tarts.  The things you do for love!  Since then he has taken over the role I had as a child and he has progressed to making a pizza and popcorn!  I am sure, when they marry, their wives will be eternally thankful that I gave them at least some culinary skills.

Here is the recipe.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Jam and almond sponge tarts        Makes about 18

  • 8 oz plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 oz lard
  • 2 oz cooking margarine or butter
  • a little cold water
  • raspberry jam

For the sponge

  • 4 oz cooking margarine
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 4 oz self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp almond essence
  1. Whizz the plain flour and salt together in a food processor or, if making the pastry manually, sift into a bowl.  Rub in the lard and margarine or add to food processor and whizz until like fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Carefully add cold water, a teaspoon at a time and work into the mix with a knife until it makes a soft, but not wet dough. 
  3. The experts will tell you to let this rest in the fridge for 30 minutes but neither I nor my Grandma did this and we have rarely, if ever had a failure.  Lightly flour a surface and roll out the pastry until it is about the width of a pound coin.  Cut out he shapes and line a tart tin.
  4. Place 1 tsp of jam in the centre of each tart.  Don’t be tempted to be over generous as the jam will seep out of the tart during cooking.
  5. To make the sponge – whizz together the sugar and margarine in a food process until it is light and creamy (or do this with a fork if you don’t have a processor.  Add the egg and flour a little at a time, alternating, and mix in well to prevent the mix from splitting.  When all the eggs and flour have been added mix in the almond essence.
  6. Carefully spoon about a dessert spoon of sponge mix over the jam, sealing the edges well.
  7. Bake in a an oven, preheated to 190C/180C fan/gas 6, for 20 -25 minutes or until they are golden and the sponge is cooked through.  To test this pierce with a skewer and it should come out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack. 

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