Where a few months ago a slice of lemon drizzle cake or a blueberry muffin would have cheered up my lunchbox I needed something more substantial, more buttery and more comforting. All this snow has meant I’ve been raiding the cupboards and I found jars and bottles full of stuff that really I’m never going to use. I also figured if any of my nearest and dearest know me, I’ll be getting many more jars of treats on the 25th.
I managed to find some raspberry jam, golden syrup, lime curd, greengage jam, pecans in honey and some quince jelly. All lovely on toast or scones or crumpets but also all nearing their ends. I needed to use them up and make the most of them.
I made some rich shortcrust pastry and for the first time, I made it in a food processor. What a revelation. I’ve always avoided it thinking it is no substitute for hand made pastry but quite frankly, when it’s that easy to make, who cares?
Put 225g plain flour and a little salt into the blender and blend for a few seconds to sift it (how clever). Add 150g of proper butter that you’ve cut into cubes and blend until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over 4tsps of cold water and blend until you have a yellow ball of deliciousness whizzing around in a circle. Take it out, wrap it up and refrigerate for half an hour. This will give you time to check the cupboards for anything lurking in the corners you may have missed.
Get the oven on 220C and a selection of spoons. Roll out the pastry to however thick you want it and get your cutters out. Fill your little cases with your jams, jellys and all sorts. I learned the hard way that jam tends to burst and bubble all over the place so jam wise, less is more. Unless you want to be scrubbing burnt sugar from now until Christmas Eve.
I had some left over pastry and so made two larger tarts. The one on the left was the pecans in honey (with extra honey) and on the right was golden syrup covered in oats. I’ll be honest, the honey one was an abomination and it got thrown to the birds. The golden syrup one was brilliant and I’m planning to make an XL one soon.
Put the colourful critters into the oven. Mine took about 15-20 mins but it’ll depend on the size you do. Somehow with the treacle and honey I unintentionally made spun sugar. When I intentionally try to achieve this, I always burn my feet.