Don’t forget! You have until 6 PM EST on Friday, May 8th to enter the contest to win your very own copy of Karen Solomon’s new cookbook, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It. Simply follow this link and leave a comment. It couldn’t be easier.
I love that author Karen Solomon considers her new cookbook, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, to be a handbook for kitchen food crafting. I often lament the fact that I’m not crafty in the traditional sense. Knitting gives me anxiety, painting makes me angry, and God forbid I try to sew anything, but I certainly know how to use my KitchenAid mixer and with this book as a guide I may yet find my very own alternative craft niche in the world.
While paging through the cozily styled recipes in this book I found myself hard pressed to find a project that I didn’t want to try. Homemade Apple Butter – bring it on! Pickled Green Beans – when does the farmer’s market open?! And if I have two weeks to spare I can even make my own bacon. Perhaps the item I’m most excited to try my hand at is Strawberry Jam. I’m honestly not sure if I can contain my excitement until June when the strawberries will be at their peak of juiciness in New England.
Eventually I did have to narrow down my recipe choice and these luscious and flaky Toaster Tarts were my winning selection. I strayed from the recipe slightly by cutting the tarts into heart shapes, but other than that small girlie touch I stayed true to the thorough and thoughtful instructions. This treat absolutely will not disappoint your hungry breakfast guests. I equate these tarts with eating the best part of a pie — the homemade crust — and I loved the sweet addition of the sugar glaze, especially when coupled with the tart raspberry jam that I opted to use.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner I suggest either whipping up a batch of these special pastries for an undoubtedly much deserved breakfast in bed scenario, or better yet, wrap up Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and present it to that special lady in your life. Everyone loves a unique and useful cookbook.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup shortening or Lard
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
5 tablespoons ice-cold water, or more as needed
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons jam, Apple Butter, or Lemon Curd, or more as needed (Erin’s Note: I used store bought Raspberry Jam).
To make the crust, chop the butter and shortening into 1/2 inch cubes, and chill in the freezer for about 15 minutes while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
Mix the four, sugar, and salt in a food processor, if you have one. If you don’t, mix by hand in a chilled bowl. Add the cold butter and shortening, and pulse until combined. If working by hand, quickly coat the butter and shortening with the dry ingredients and, working with 2 knives, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs. Add the vinegar and water and combine. If needed, keep adding water, 1 teaspoon as a time, just until the dough holds together. (The key here is to use as little liquid as possible).
Bring the dough together on a floured work surface, cut it in half, shape each piece into a flat rectangle about 1/2 inch thick, wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the icing, while the dough chills, stir together the confectioners’ sugar and water.
To assemble the tarts, preheat the oven to 350ºF and beat the egg in a small bowl. Have a pastry brush near.
Remove the first dough rectangle from the refrigerator, unwrap, and roll it out on a floured work surface using a floured rolling pin, keeping it in the best rectangle shape you can muster, about 1/8 inch thick. If the dough gets too soft to work with, chill for 20 minutes in the fridge or 5 minutes in the freezer.
Measure twice, cut once. Grab a tape measure, and nick the edges of the crust to allow for as many 3 by 4-inch rectangles as possible. When you have the sizing right, cut out your rectangles with a pizza cutter, knife, or scraper. From 1 dough rectangle you will likely have 10 to 12 pieces, enough for 5 to 6 tarts. Brush each piece of dough with beaten egg. (Erin’s Note: This is where I strayed from the recipe and cut out my tarts with a large heart-shaped cookie cutter. I then reworked and rolled out the leftover dough once to cut out additional hearts. I discarded the small amount of remaining dough).
Eyeball 2 similarly sized pieces. Spoon 1 scant teaspoon of jam into the center of 1 of the pieces of dough and smooth it over, leaving a 1/2-inch margin on all sides. Cover with its twin piece of dough, egg wash side down, and gently flatten the 2 pieces together, squeezing out as much air as possible and being careful not to let the filling leak out the sides.
With a dinner fork, press the edges of the tart together, and gently poke 3 or 4 sets of holes into the top of the tart. Brush with the icing. Don’t worry too much if the icing doesn’t go on evenly, as it will become transparent as it bakes. Using your scraper or a spatula, carefully transfer the tart to an ungreased baking sheet. (Erin’s Note: I’m a silpat addict so I had to use one).
Assemble the remaining tarts. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or just until light brown. The theory here is that you’ll finish baking them later in the toaster oven when you’re ready to eat them. If you want to eat them all right away, bake for 10 minutes more, or until golden brown all over.
Repeat the above with the second dough rectangle.
How to store it: Cooled, prebaked tarts can be kept in a sealable plastic bag in the freezer for 3 months. Toast in a toaster or toaster oven when ready to eat.