The children loved picking the strawberries (we went to Bellis Brothers in Wrexham), so much so that I ended up spending many of the following evenings frantically washing, hulling, chopping and freezing (for smoothies) and making copious vats of jam. I was instructed to make "enough to last us until next summer, Mummy!". At the rate they hoover up jam, I'm not sure that's been possible!
The one batch of jam that my husband made didn't set properly, and I found that this was perfect for jam tarts, also for drizzling over yoghurts or adding to porridge or rice pudding.
I used the recipe for jam from the back of the Silver Spoon jam sugar packet, and adapted the recipe for the sweet tart pastry from the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book.
- 900g strawberries, washed
- 1kg jam sugar (I used Silver Spoon and followed the recipe on the back of the packet)
- A knob of butter
Makes approx. 1.5kg jam
- 225g plain flour
- A pinch of salt
- 150g fridge-cold butter, cut into pieces
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tbsp cold water
Makes approx. 15 jam tarts
To make the jam:
- Wash and sterilise 6 jam jars and their lids by placing them into an oven at Gas Mark 3 (170 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Leave for 10 minutes, then they are ready to be filled
- Hull the strawberries, and blend to a puree (I used a stick blender), or mash with a potato masher
- Place the strawberries into a heavy-based saucepan and add the entire packet of jam sugar
- Begin to heat the mixture gently, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved completely
- Add a knob of butter and increase the heat, continuing to stir the mixture, until the jam reaches a rolling boil, the bubbles rise and cannot be stirred down with a spoon
- Start timing and boil for 4 minutes only, whilst continuing to stir (the steam gets very hot so be careful)
- Remove from the heat, then pour or ladle into the sterilised jars. Screw the lids on tightly and leave overnight to cool completely.
To make the pastry:
- Sift the flour and salt into a food processor, then add the cubed butter. Switch the food processor on, and run until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and pulse to mix
- Tip the pastry mixture into a large bowl
- Mix the egg yolk with 3 tbsp cold water, then add to the dry ingredients and mix with a round-bladed knife to a dough
- Knead gently until just smooth. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm them leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- If you find that the pastry is a little crumbly when you come to roll it out, pour a little sunflower or vegetable oil into the palms of your hands and rub together. knead the pastry again gently, to incorporate the oil into the dough
To make the jam tarts:
- Remove the pastry from the fridge. Break off around 1/3 of the dough and place the rest under a damp towel. Lightly oil the surfaces of a cupcake tin
- Lightly flour a surface and rolling pin, and roll out the pastry to a thickness of approx. 3-4mm
- Using a crinkle cutter, radius approx. 80mm, cut rounds of pastry and press into the cupcake tin
- Add 1-2 tsp of jam to each tart - do not overfill as the jam will boil up during baking
- Bake the tarts in a preheated oven at 180 degrees fan for approx. 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden
- Remove from the oven and leave to rest in the tin for 5 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely