Yesterday, we made these Queen of Hearts tarts, based on a recipe from the BBC children’s tv show ‘Big Cook, Little Cook’. These are easy to make, quite plain, and filled with whichever red jam you like best.
As you might know from our recent post about making Merengue Snowmen, ‘Big Cook, Little Cook’ is one of Penguin’s favourite shows. When we made the snowmen, we got the recipe and directions from watching an episode, whereas this recipe is from a ‘Big Cook, Little Cook’ cook book we’ve got. It’s also in an episode of the series, where Little Cook saves the Queen of Hearts fom starvation by feeding her jam… Hm, not the most balanced diet there perhaps. But anyway, on with the recipe:
While BC and LC cheat a bit by using ready-made shortcrust pastry, we made our own. It’s very basic, and for our 12 tarts (plus the 12 heartshaped shortcrust biscuits that you automatically end up with in the process) we used:
- 250 grams flour
- 125 grams butter (well, we used Stork)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tblsp water
If you’ve got vanilla sugar, it could be nice to add a teaspoon of that for flavour, or a drop of vanilla essence. You could also try using other types of pastry, as long as it’s not too difficult to cut circles and hearts out of it.
To make the tarts, you’ll also need
- jam (we used cherry, the recipe says strawberry)
- some more water
- icing sugar (optional)
Put the flour, salt and butter (which should be cold and cubed) in a bowl, then mix it with your fingers until its all crumbly. Then add the water and work it all together, and there’s your pastry done.
Penguin loves flour, it offers a great bit of ‘sensory play’, and while making the pastry we allowed for some extra time to really enjoy the process, playing a little bit with the ingredients while adding them together. The crumbly stage was particularly enjoyable, almost like a kind of play sand.
Once the pastry is made it needs to rest in a cool place (fridge is good) for 30 mins or more.
Next it’s time to roll out the pastry. Put some flour on your work surface to avoid it sticking. The pastry is quite tough to roll out, so although Penguin helped, I had to do most of the rolling. We made it about 3-4 mm thick, then used a glass to take out round shapes, then gathered the leftover pastry bits around the circles into another lump of pastry to roll out, to repeat the process.
Make sure the round shapes you make are big enough to comfortable fit your heart-shaped cutter in.
So, you should end up with about 24 pieces of pastry, of which you then place 12 on a greased baking tray. For the remaining 12 pastry circles, get your heart-shaped cutter and take out a heart in the middle of each circle.
Then brush the surface of each circle on your baking tray with a little water, before placing a circle with heart cut out on top. Fill each heart with jam, we used about a teaspoon in each.
Then they go into the oven (“hot hot hot!” as Big Cook says) on gas mark 6, for about 15 minutes or when turning golden(ish). The little heart biscuits you end up with from cutting out the centers can go in at the same time if you wish, just keep an eye as the might start to brown slightly quicker than the tarts.
To finish off, we dustes our tarts and bisquits with icing sugar. It’s not in the ‘Big Cook, Little Cook’ recipe, but it’s fun to do, looks nice, and adds a bit of sweetness to the pastry, so why not?
There we are, Queen of Hearts tarts, done!