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Jam Oysters



When I made my declaration about not doing any more fancy eating posts for a while, I had forgotten about these delicious little jam tarts I had baked the other day for the Royal Occasion. Nevermind, it may be too late for the wedding, but this fabulous recipe is sure to come in handy for any tea party/special occasion you have in mind that you want something a tiny bit special for.  Jam Oysters.  Sounds funny to you I am thinking, a name like Jam Oysters.  But let me explain . . .


They are really only jam tarts.  Fancy jam tarts.  Little almond frangipane filled short crust pastry tarts that you bake until the frangipane is golden brown and then the magic happens . . .


You take the tip of a sharp knife and carefully remove the frangipane once the tarts have cooled, taking care to keep it intact. You then fill the baked and now empty tart shells with a portion of raspberry jam, and a layer of  piped vanilla buttercream. At the end you pop that frangipane layer back on top and dust with icing sugar.  I suppose it looks a bit like an opened oyster shell, but with what is a much tastier filling than an oyster . .  in my honest opinion.


They look quite pretty on a tea table  . . . and are just that tiny bit more special than a plain old jam tart.


They are as light as air  . . .  and oh so tasty.  Use a good raspberry jam for this. If you don't have homemade, us a good storemade one, which in my case is always Bon Maman.  And not just because of the jar . . .


Although to be sure that little gingham red and white cap draws me like an ocean siren draws a sailor.  I just love Bon Maman preserves, both the contents and the jars. So pretty and pretty tasty!


I thought they looked quite pretty balanced on top of these little Jenny Wren egg cups . . .  just like the little Jenny's are about to take to the air with their sweet little surprises  . . . 


Such pretty little birds . . .  such pretty little cakes  . . .


Incredibly tasty too and sure to be a big hit at your next soiree!  I have given recipes for the tarts as well as the pastry (a sweet shortcrust) and for the buttercream.  YUM! 


*Jam Oysters*
Makes 18 


Not only are these a real treat for the eyes, but they are delicious as well. They look complicated but they really are very easy to put together.
175g  of prepared shortcrust pastry (make your own or use ready made) (1/2 pound)

FILLING:
70g butter (1/3 cup)
70g ounces of caster sugar (1/3 cup + 1/2 TBS)
85g ground almonds (scant cup)
1 medium free-range egg, lightly beaten
Few drops of almond essence

You will also need:
Raspberry jam to fill
Vanilla Butter Cream icing to fill
Icing sugar to dust


Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F/gas mark 5. Roll out the pastry thinly and cut into rounds, using a 3 inch fluted pastry cutter. Use this to line 18 patty tins.


Cream the butter together with the sugar until fluffy and well incorporated. Stir in the ground almonds, beaten egg and the almond essence. Mix well.


Place a small spoonful of the almond mixture into each pastry case. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until set and nicely browned.


Remove from the oven to a rack to cool. Once they are thoroughly cooled, carefully remove the almond filling with a knife. Fill the pasty cases with the jam and pipe a bit of butter cream on top of each. Replace the almond filling on top, dust with icing sugar, and serve.



*Rich Sweet Shortcrust Pastry*
makes 1/2 pound 
 

The best way to make shortcrust pastry that has a crisp crumble in the mouth texture is to do it by hand, rather than by machine. Using a  machine tends to overwork the gluten in the flour and the pastry has a tendancy to end up springy and shrink when cooked..  Resting the pastry for a half hour in the fridge is also an important step because of the high proportion of butter to flour, which makes it difficult to roll out when warm. 


280g plain flour (2 cups)
4 ounces cold butter (1/2 cup)
6 TBS icing sugar, sifted
2 egg yolks
2 TBS water 


Sift the flour into a basin. Add the butter, cut into pieces and rub it into the flour until it resembled fine dry bread crumbs. Add the icing sugar. Whisk in well. Make a indentation in the centre of the butter mixture. Beat the egg yolks and water together. Pour into the indentation and then, using a fork, mix together to a rough dough in the basin. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Shape into a ball and then place into a zip lock bag. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes, while you make the filling.  Proceed as per the recipe requirements for whichever recipe that you are using to fill the tart with. 



*Perfect Vanilla Buttercream Icing*
Makes enough to fill and frost a layer cake


225g butter, softened (1 cup)
390g icing sugar, sifted (3 cups, confectioners, powdered)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 to 2 TBS double cream 


Beat the butter and sugar together on low until well blended and then continue to beat on mdeium for another few minutes until it begins to become fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and 1 TBS cream, only adding the second one if needed until you have a frosting of spreading consistency. 



I just adore these old fashioned, traditional teatime recipes  that you find here in the UK.  I adore frangipane anyways, but when you pop it into pastry along with some jam and buttercream, well that is just a couple of little heavenly bites that I truly have a difficult time resisting!!!  Bon Appetit!




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Marie Rayner
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6 comments:

  1. What pretty little things they are. Can I recommend that if anyone, like me, would think of avoiding these because they are almond, please don't! Almond meal itself is quite a neutral flavour, it is the almond essence which you don't like, so replace it with vanilla, or make them lemon flavoured and fill with lemon curd.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Karen Lizzie, you are quite right, almond meal is very benign as far as flavour goes Lemon curd and flavouring is an excellent suggestion! xo

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  2. They are absolutely lovely! Oh your JW cups too..my daughter gave mea bird planter..all white..so similar:)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Monique! I love them. I love white anything as you know! I never end up using them as egg cups though! xo

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