Baking Queen of Hearts tarts, like on ‘Big Cook, Little Cook’

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.

Baking Queen of Hearts Tarts as on 'Big Cook, Little Cook' - Sensational Learning with Penguin

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 from starvation by feeding her jam… Hmm, not the most balanced of diets perhaps. But anyway, on with the recipe:

While Big Cook Ben & Little Cook Small 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 heart-shaped shortcrust biscuits that you automatically end up with in the process) we used:

  • 250 g plain flour OR c. 200 grams of plain flour + 2-3 tbsp icing sugar, for a sweeter pastry
  • 125 g butter (well, we used Stork)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Optional: If you’ve got vanilla essence, a teaspoon of that makes for an extra tasty pastry.

You could of course 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)

NOTE: If your jam is thick, it could be a good idea to warm it up in a saucepan in advance, to make it more runny. You might even like to add a little water. This is just to make it easier to spread onto the tarts.

Time to get baking:

Put the flour, salt and butter (which should ideally be cold and cubed) in a bowl, along with the icing sugar if you’re going for the sweeter pastry. Mix it with your fingers until its all crumbly. Then add the water – and vanilla essence if you wish – and work it all together. And there’s your pastry done! Now let it rest in a cool place (fridge is good) for 30 mins or more.

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 it’s time to roll out the pastry, put some flour on your work surface to avoid it sticking. Also, turn the oven on, to gas mark 6 or 200 C, or 180C if fan assisted.

The pastry can be a little tricky 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 (about 3 inches in diameter) 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 comfortably fit your heart-shaped cutter in.

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 12-15 minutes or when turning golden(ish). The little heart biscuits you end up with from cutting out the centres 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 dusted our tarts and biscuits 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!


Linking up with:
Twin Mummy and Daddy
Mummies Waiting
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

56 thoughts on “Baking Queen of Hearts tarts, like on ‘Big Cook, Little Cook’

  1. Don’t you just love Big Cook Little Cook! Glad to hear it’s stoll being enjoyed by little ones as it was my sons favourite show for a while. I think I’ve made these before actually. They look lovely. Thank you for sharing. #mg

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my god I love these, my children would love making them as well. I can be a bit hit and miss at making biscuits sometimes, often over doing them but I think we might give these a try tomorrow anyway – very topical and it looks great fun for the little ones! Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These look brilliant and great that it came from a kids’ programme. I may get baking these (have pined to try later on). Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, yes it’s great when you can actually use stuff learnt from the telly and make it a great ‘together activity’, isn’t it? And these are super simple to make 😊👍Thank you for reading, commenting and pinning! x


    1. Haha, how ‘unfortunate’! 😄 You could always invite a friend over to ‘help’ eating them, perhaps, and your family can share the little heart biscuits you end up with as a side product (from cutting the shapes out to fit the jam filling). 😋x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow, what a massive blast from the past – my daughter is almost 15 and she used to love Big Cook, Little Cook on CBeebies. I had totally forgotten that programme existed! The Queen of hearts looks delicious too. I might try and make them at the weekend with my little boy #ThatFridayLinky

    Liked by 1 person

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