Introduction: Jam Tarts
I always make these with the leftover pie crust dough when I make a pie, but sometimes they're a nice treat in and of themselves...
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Step 1: Gather Ingredients
For a regular pie crust, I use one cup flour and one stick butter, but for a smaller batch (such as will fit in my toaster oven) I halved the recipe. You will also need a teaspoon of sugar, ice water, and--of course--jam. Remember to preheat the oven to 350 degrees!
Step 2: Cut Butter Into Flour
Mix 1 teaspoon sugar into 1/2 cup flour, and then add 1/2 a stick of butter. If you have a pastry cutter, great, but if not, two dinner knives work just as well. Cut the butter into small pieces, sliding the knife blades across each other to catch all the pieces. The pieces don't all have to be completely mixed into the flour, but they should be roughly the same size; you should end up with a crumbly texture.
Step 3: Add Ice Water
It's important to do this step slowly: better to add too little than too much, or you will end up with gooey dough. Add a few tablespoons and start whirling the mixture around with your knife. Be patient! When all the water is absorbed, add a little more.
Step 4: Mix Dough
Keep slowly adding water and whirling the batter with the knife until it starts to coalesce. When it's starting to really clump together, shape it into one ball with the knife. Try not to touch the dough with your hands more than you have to.
Step 5: Chill the Dough
This step is optional, but it makes the crust even flakier, so if you have time, it's worth it to stick the dough in the fridge for half an hour.
Step 6: Roll the Dough Grandma Style
(See step 7 for the regular way to do it.)This is a no-mess way to roll out your pie crust. My grandmother saves the bags from the inside of cereal boxes and carefully peels them out so they lie flat. She then sandwiches the ball of dough between them and rolls it out under the plastic. If it gets stuck, carefully peel back the plastic and reposition your dough. Note: this is pretty tricky, so don't try if you aren't experienced with pie crust.
Step 7: Flour Your Rolling Surface
Make sure to sprinkle flour on top of your ball of dough and the rolling pin, too, to keep the dough from sticking to anything.
Step 8: Roll Out the Dough
Carefully flatten out the dough, rolling it out from the center in all directions. Again, patience will pay off. Periodically re-flour the rolling surface and the rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. Methodical, even sweeps of the pin are the way to go, but don't press too hard, or there's more of a chance of tearing a hole in your crust.
Step 9: Cut Tart Shapes and Add Jam
You can make your tarts as big or as small as you want, although they tend to fall apart once they're cooked if they're more than a few inches across. Spread a dollop of jam off-center, making sure to leave room around the edges, and fold the top over. Pinch the edges together and nestle them around the tart.
Step 10: Place Tarts on Cookie Sheet and Bake
If your baking sheet has holes (like the one from my toaster oven did), cover it with a piece of aluminum foil. You may also want to put foil on the bottom of the oven, too. These drip!
Put in the oven, and bake for about twenty minutes (or until lightly browned). You'll know they're done when you can smell them!
Step 11: Cool on a Rack or Perforated Baking Sheet
This allows air to cool and dry the bottoms so they're not soggy. These get pretty hot, so don't eat right away (you will burn your mouth).
Step 12: Eat!
Share with friends, or not, depending on how nice they are...