Wednesday, January 16, 2013

easy jam tart.

All my virtuous eating lasted about 5 days before I said to myself you can have your cake and eat it to, so I did just that.  If my imaginary roller derby name is any indication (Count Chockilla for your information), it’s clear that I have a strong affinity for the sweet stuff (particularly chocolate but anything would do).  As much as I love over the top cakes, I also love simple rustic tats. There is something about the ease with which they can be made (Tuesday tart day?) and because they are so simple, I find that a slice can make the perfect breakfast, accompaniment to tea, or evening dessert.  My absolute favorite tart recipe combines a generous layer of jam (preferably cherry) between a subtly sweet cornmeal crust.  It’s as easy as can be and it’s also visually stunning with it’s overlapping layers of crust and its coarse sugar coated top, making it the perfect thing to bring to your next dinner party. (A slice always makes a wonderful reward for having gone to the gym which is how I bribe myself to go.)

Easy Jam Tart
Recipe via Smitten Kitchen

1 ½ cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
½ cup (70 grams) stone-ground cornmeal or polenta
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons (4 ½ ounces or 130 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg, whole
1 large egg, separated
1/8 – ¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups jam (I love cherry jam with the almond extract)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) coarse-crystal or granulated sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.  In a stand mixed with the paddle attachment or in a food processor, mix the butter and ½ cup (100 grams) sugar together until smooth.  Add the egg, egg yolk (keep the egg white from the second egg on hand for later) and almond extract and beat until combined.  Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until the dough just comes together. 

Transfer about one-third of the dough to a lightly floured counter and shape it into a log about 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it until needed.  (Or you can put the freezer to get it colder quicker.)

Transfer the remaining dough to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Using your hands, press the dough evenly into the bottom.  Press the dough up the sides to the rim of the pan and set the tart on a baking sheet. Refrigerate the dough-lined pan until firm, at least one hour.  (Again, you can put it in the freezer and have it firm up in about 30 minutes.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spread the jam evenly over the dough in the pan.  Cut the chilled dough into very thin disks with a sharp paring knife.  Arrange them slightly overlapped in concentric circles over the jam to form a top crust.  Whish the remaining egg white with 1 teaspoon of water until frothy; brush evenly over the tart lid and then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) coarse sugar.  Bake until the top crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Let cool completely. 

This tart stores beautifully for 3 days if well wrapped at room temperature.  It’s also really sturdy making it the perfect dish to bring to a soiree. 

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