These mini jam tarts are made for little hands and little mouths. Short pastry crusts are blind-baked and then cradle any kind of jam you’d like-homemade or storebought. Oh, and make sure the kids make these with you.
These irresistible little delicacies aren’t only enticing. They’re easy enough to be made by the kids. And they’re begging to be set out at your next brunch, book club, tea party, or any old Tuesday afternoon alongside a cup of coffee or tea. They’re easy to put together and endlessly customizable with whatever jam (or jams!) you happen to have on hand. We love using an array of flavors; not only does it look pretty, it also gives you an excuse to try them all.–Angie Zoobkoff
Mini Jam Tarts
For the pastry
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling the dough
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons heavy (35%) cream
For the tarts
- Unsalted butter for the pans
- About 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade jam any flavor
Make the pastry
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together. Add the cubed butter and, using your fingertips, lightly rub the butter into the flour until it resembles large breadcrumbs with some pieces the size of small peas. You can also use a pastry blender for this job.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix the egg into the flour until they’re completely combined.
- Add the cream and mix until the dough is firm enough to form a ball when you press the mixture together with your fingers—it may be a little crumbly but do your best to form the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. (You can instead freeze the dough, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before you roll and bake.)
- Remove the disk of dough from the fridge and let it sit for a few minutes so it’s easier to work with. Divvy the dough in half.
- Lightly flour a large sheet of parchment and then place a piece of dough on the parchment. Sprinkle it lightly with flour and place a second sheet of parchment paper on top.
- Roll the dough between the 2 sheets of parchment paper to athickness of 1/6 inch (4 mm). If the dough is soft, you might need to put it back in the fridge to firm up a little before you cut it.
Make the tarts
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚F). Lightly slick two 12-cup muffin pans with butter.
- Using a cookie cutter that’s about 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter, cut out rounds of the dough. A cookie cutter with fluted edges makes for pretty tartlets but if you don’t have a cookie cutter, you can use a glass or ramekin that’s the same diameter. One disk of the pastry should make 10 rounds. You will need to gather up and re-roll scraps of the pastry to make sure you get 10—and each time you re-roll, you will need a touch of flour to ensure the pastry does not stick to the parchment. If the dough is very soft and sticky, refrigerate the dough again once it’s been rolled out.
- Use an offset spatula to help you remove the pastry rounds from the parchment and gently place them in the muffin cups. You don’t need to press them right down to the bottom as they’ll sink to form a little cup. Make sure the pastry rounds are evenly centered in the muffin cups. Place the muffin pan in the fridge while you work with the second piece of dough.Repeat with the second piece of dough and refrigerate the muffin pan and pastry rounds for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and place 1 teaspoon of jam in the middle of each pastry cup. It doesn’t look like a lot but it will bubble up and expand when it cooks. Bake until the pastry is golden and the jam is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and let the tarts sit in the pans until the jam is no longer runny, about 15 minutes. Depending on the type of jam you use (and its sugar versus fruit content), it may not spread as it cooks. If your jam doesn’t spread, add another teaspoon of the jam when the tartlets are just out of the oven and gently swirl to combine the hot and cold jams and then allow them to set.
- Remove the tartlets from the pans and cool on wire racks. Serve at room temperature. You can store these in an airtight container for up to 3 days although it’s unlikely they’ll last that long.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These mini jam tarts are a tea time classic in England. The dough, not too sweet, is soft on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside, and the fruit jam, spread across the bottom, gives a good sweet flavor to this little delight. When using jams of different fruits and colors, the result is beautiful and colorful.
You should use a compote with a high fruit content and therefore thicker, this way when going to the oven it doesn’t spread as much and remains inside the small dough base. To keep the sweet balance, the amount of jam should not exceed 1 teaspoon—any more than that and the tarts will become too sweet.
This is a very basic, yet perfectly acceptable, recipe for mini jam tarts. Shortcrust pastry and any available jam goes together easily and quite appealingly. These tarts are usually what happens when I have leftover pastry—this recipe just elevates those little delicacies to the main act.
I don’t use eggs in my own shortcrust so I was anxious to see what the difference would be. It did add a little more richness but I found that the shells weren’t as tender as I would have liked. I was also surprised to see that there was no mention of overworking the dough, especially in a recipe for tarts which required a lot of handling.
I used 2 different fillings, sour cherry and blueberry lime. I also had leftover lime curd from a gin and tonic birthday cake, so I served the tarts with a little dollop of that on the side. They were delicious and they do make a lovely presentation for a casual dinner.
I was looking for European-inspired desserts for my book club meeting to coordinate with the theme of the book we were reading and these beautiful mini jam tarts were a huge hit with my group!
Making the pastry dough was easy enough, but the challenge for me came when rolling out the dough. The dough was very firm when it came out of the refrigerator and started working with it right away. However, when I started to roll out the dough as instructed between the floured sheets of parchment, the butter in the dough seemed to melt rapidly and if it was rolled too thin it melted into the parchment on both sides. Cutting it at this point was not happening, so I rolled the second piece of dough out quickly on freshly dusted parchment not as thin as before and I was able to cut the dough into fluted rounds and get them to my muffin tin. I gathered up and rerolled the first piece of dough, again not too thin and was able to cut and remove the pastry rounds into the tin. I was only able to get 19 tart crusts this way, but they baked up beautifully.
I used Bonne Maman Preserves in the flavors: Wild Blueberry, Mango-Peach, and Strawberry. The blueberry preserves had so many little whole blueberries in it, I had to add a little extra when they came out of the oven, since the jam didn’t spread across the bottom of the tarts like the other jams did.
I will definitely make these again, as they are so pretty, but will just remember to work fast and not roll too thin. A definite keeper!
Yummy mini jam tarts. A simple and fairly easy sweet treat to make.
When rolling out the dough, I was not having success using the parchment method. Truly, I think it’s just me because I can never get that to work, so I just rolled the dough as I would any other. I did have to be mindful of its tendency to become soft and sticky, but I found that working quickly and popping the dough into the fridge helped. Also, I didn’t find that dividing the dough into 2 rounds would have been necessary. The quantity of dough was certainly small enough to be manageable and I also found that having two small rounds of dough had me gather and re-roll the scraps more often than if I was just working with 1 round of dough.
I used a non-stick muffin pan and found that I didn’t need to add additional butter to slick the pans.
I didn’t let the tarts cool in the pan as some of the jam had bubbled over and I didn’t want to have the jam glue to tarts to the pan as it cooled. Instead, I used a fork to pop the tarts out the pan and let then cool on a rack.
I used 3 different kinds of jam: a European peach jam (with sizable fruit bits), an artisanal strawberry-rhubarb local jam and an everyday store-bought strawberry jam. The smoother jams had a nicer consistency while I found the chunky peach jam less appealing in such a small tart. Deliciousness all the same!
Originally published September 17, 2018