What are the Best Tips for Baking a Jam Tart?

Sheri Cyprus

The best tips for baking a jam tart include choosing only between jams with a sugar percentage of 40% or below. Any higher than that is likely to greatly change the jam's texture and make it flat and sticky due to how hot it gets in the tart shell during baking. Other jam tart making tips involve varying the filling and shape of this classic British dessert.

A jar of raspberry jam.
A jar of raspberry jam.

Since there's no mixture to make, just the already-prepared jam for the filling, using several different jams as well as tart shell shapes to make several batches of the dessert at once is quick and easy. It makes sense to do this, as jam tarts typically freeze very well, unlike custard tart recipes made with eggs in the filling. By alternating the look and flavors used in the same jam tart recipe, it's simple to have an assortment on hand that would look attractive when served to family or guests.

Strawberry jam is a popular option for jam tarts.
Strawberry jam is a popular option for jam tarts.

For example, plum, apricot and strawberry jams are all different colors; since the tart is open face, having the different shades can look interesting and almost like multi-colored jewel tones in their effect. Plus, people can choose their favorite flavor. To make a jam tart recipe in one pan rather than individual cups as is the traditional method, the dough for the crust need only be rolled and shaped once rather than cut into many circles.

Triangle tarts can be made by cutting the pan of finished jam dessert into squares, then in half again on the diagonal. The squares need to be cut fairly large to avoid crumbling. If any of the jam tart pieces do crumble, they can be used on ice cream with a caramel or other sauce drizzled on top. For a variation on the jam pan tart idea, a lattice top crust can be made by interweaving strips of the dough. A lot of space should be left between each strip so that the jam will show through in large expanses.

To make the recipe the traditional way by using individual tart pans, round cookie or biscuit cutters of about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter tend to work well for cutting out the circles of dough. The jam should fill each tart shell fairly full, but not right to the top. Some bakers like to sprinkle the finished desserts with a light sprinkling of icing sugar.

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