Cakes & Bakes: Lemon curd and jelly tarts

Home-made lemon curd and fruit jelly tarts with a cup of tea | H is for Home

I had a bit of leftover lemon curd from last week’s Pavlova recipe… I also have jar upon jar of home-made fruit jelly in the store cupboard. As someone who hates to waste anything, I thought I would make some simple lemon curd and jelly tarts.

Making pastry tart cases | H is for Home

Whether you’re rubbing in by hand or using a food mixer, the shortcrust pastry is a breeze…

Filling pastry tart cases | H is for Home

…then fill with your preserve(s) of choice and bake. Start to finish in an hour or so. Perfect if you want to rustle up something quickly – or try a bit of baking with the kids.

Cooked lemon curd and fruit jelly tarts | H is for Home

You can leave them plain & simple – or perhaps pretty them up a bit. I garnished the top of the lemon curd tarts with a single blueberry and the jelly ones with a little sprinkle of dessicated coconut.

Adding garnishes to lemon curd and fruit jelly tarts | H is for Home

They’re a good finger food for a party or an afternoon or high tea. They’re simple, inexpensive and delicious – a great combination!

Click here or on the image below to save the recipe for later!

Home-made jelly and lemon curd tarts | H is for Home

Lemon curd and jelly tarts
Yields 24
Cook Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 180g/6oz plain flour
  2. pinch of salt
  3. 90g/3oz cold butter, cubed
  4. 3-4 tbsp cold water
  5. 8tbsp lemon curd
  6. 8tbsp fruit jelly or jamHome-made lemon curd and jelly tart ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Put the flour and salt into a food processor and whiz briefly together to mix
  2. Add the butter cubes and pulse briefly a dozen times or so until you have coarse crumbs
  3. Trickle in the water continuing to pulse until the mixture resembles rough lumps and looks a bit like overcooked and dry scrambled eggs. Add only as much water as you need
  4. Tip the clumped crumbs onto a sheet of cling film and gently squeeze together into a ball without pressing too hard
  5. Wrap & chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  6. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 6
  7. Lightly grease a tartlet tin
  8. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pastry out thinly
  9. Using a pastry cutter slightly larger than the circumference of a tartlet hole, cut out pastry rounds
  10. Press the pastry rounds evenly into each hole (I use the end of my rolling pin as a tamper)
  11. Fill each pastry case with about a teaspoon of lemon curd or jelly/jam
  12. Bake for 15 minutes
  13. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before attempting to remove them
  14. Allow them to cool completely on a wire rack
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Price Points: Preserve starter kits

Preserving starter kits | H is for Home

  1. Kitchen Craft preserving starter set, 4 pieces: £10, hobbycraft
  2. VonShef 9L Maslin pan jam preserving starter set bundle: £32.99, Amazon
  3. 5-Pieces preserve starter set by Kilner: £69.99, Wayfair

One of the things I love about the start of autumn is making jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys and all manner of other preserves. I made a batch of apple and chilli jelly this week… the first of the season.

Late summer is spent foraging for fruit such as wild raspberries, elderberries and blackberries. They’re added to the redcurrants that were harvested from our allotment in and are made into mixed fruit jelly.

You really should try it – it’s really easy, satisfying and far superior to most shop bought stuff. Get yourself one of these preserve starter kits and you’ll be quickly on your way to making your own.

Each has its own merits however, I’ve chosen #2 as the best of the preserve starter kits for a number of reasons. The most important component is the jam/maslin pan. It needs to be large, sturdy and made of the right material. It needs to be made of a non-reactive material such as stainless steel. Reactive metals such as aluminium and untreated cast iron can give a metallic taste to the food and can also cause discolouration. The pan also needs to be a good conductor of heat, for example, copper so that it achieves the high temperatures necessary in jam-making.

The next most important component is the thermometer. It’s not absolutely essential but, if you’re not entirely confident with using the cold saucer method, a thermometer is the foolproof way of knowing that the magic 105ºC/220ºF temperature has been reached.

A jam funnel is very useful if you’ve got shaky hands like mine, however buying the other components are less necessary. I have a huge store of different sized & shaped jars – I never put the finished jars of honey, mayonnaise, pesto etc into the recycling. With a little pre-planning, you shouldn’t need to buy jars specially for preserving. Just make sure ones you’re reusing have no chips or cracks and have their original airtight lids.

Having said all that – yes, both #2 and #3 come with jars as part of their kits. The former has the edge over the latter as the single 1-litre jar is much less practical than 6 smaller ones. If you store a litre of jam, jelly, chutney etc in a single jar you’ll have to eat all the contents within a couple of weeks of opening or it will go off. Also, you should store your preserves in the fridge once they’ve been opened. I usually have too much other stuff in the fridge to accommodate a litre-sized pot of jam.

In the years I’ve been preserving, I’ve never used a jar lifter (I use a pair of kitchen tongs), a jar wrench (just twist a dinner knife between the space between the lid and the jar) or a magnetic stick (again, I use kitchen tongs). So that’s 3 of the 4 Kitchen Craft items that would be neglected at the back of the cupboard. You could buy each preserve making component you think you’ll need singly – but it’s often cheaper to buy them as a bundle.

Apple and chilli jelly

Spoonful of home-made apple and chilli jelly | H is for Home

We spent about an hour this week picking apples in Justin’s parents’ neighbours’ garden. Got all that?

Chopped apples, chilli and lemon zest

We must have harvested about 10 to 15 kilos. I wanted to make something where I didn’t need to peel and core that many apples. Though they’re delicious (they’re cooking apples), a lot of them are small and misshapen – a nightmare job!

jelly making equipment | H is for Home jelly making equipment | H is for Home

Justin suggested apple and chilli jelly. It would utilise the apples – and some of the 300 glass jars I’ve managed to accumulate over the years!

Strained juice and bags of sugar | H is for Home

I weighed out 4 kilos of apples – so doubled up this recipe. I barely made a dent in the pile!

Sterilized jelly jars and funnel | H is for Home

It’s not a complicated process, but a bit of time is required for chopping, boiling, straining, re-boiling. No problem if you’re in the house as you can get on with something else as it bubbles away.

Jars of apple and chilli jelly | H is for Home

The resulting jelly is a wonderful colour – and tastes amazing! The perfect accompaniment for vegetarian or meat dishes which is ideal for this household. Perfect with cheese, burgers and kebabs. Justin thinks it will be absolutely awesome with slow roast pork and has vowed to try it at the weekend. If you have an apple harvest ready to pick then we can thoroughly recommend this recipe. It will last for months (even years) in your store cupboard – or make perfect presents for anyone deserving enough!

Jars of apple and chilli jelly | H is for Home

Now… what to do with the other 10 kilos of apples?!

Redcurrant jelly

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Jars of home-made redcurrant jelly | H is for Home

July sees the start of our food harvesting and preserving season. Last week we made a delicious elderflower ice cream with our home-made elderflower cordial.

colander full of redcurrants picked on our allotment

This week, we’ve made some redcurrant jelly using a recipe from Cordon Bleu Preserving.

Washed redcurrants put into glass jars

We inherited half a dozen or so redcurrant bushes when we took on our allotment last year. On our last trip down there this week, the bushes were heaving with little red jewels.

Redcurrants cooked in lidded jars in the oven

It took the pair of us about two hours to pick about half of them. When we got home, we gave them a rinse – they barely filled our small colander!

Weighing sugar to make redcurrant jelly

Despite this, we kept back a couple of cupfuls (to go into a pie) before making rest into jelly… it actually made 8 jars.

Straining cooked redcurrants through a jelly bag

We know that redcurrant jelly is usually matched with lamb or game and a dollop or two can go into a gravy for extra flavour. We’ll have to look for some other good flavour matches…any ideas?

Marzipan chocolate brownies
Serves 8
For the brownie layer
  1. 175g/6oz butter
  2. 175g/6oz caster sugar
  3. 75g/2½oz dark chocolate
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 85g/3oz plain flour, sieved
  6. 40g/1½oz cocoa powder
For the ganache
  1. 75g/2½oz dark chocolate
  2. 75g/2½oz double cream
For the marzipan
  1. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar
  3. 2tsp almond extract
  4. 1 egg white
For the chocolate topping
  1. 100g/32½oz dark chocolate
  2. Home-made marzipan chocolate brownies ingredients
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For the brownie layer
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease & line a 20cm/8-inch square cake tin with parchment paper
  3. Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water)
  4. Stir to incorporate
  5. Whisk the eggs and sugar together well
  6. Mix in the chocolate mixture
  7. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder
  8. Pour the batter into the baking tin
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just baked
For the ganache layer
  1. Melt the dark chocolate and double cream together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water)
  2. Stir to incorporate
  3. Once the brownie layer has cooled, pour the ganache over and spread evenly. Allow to firm up before embarking on the next layer
For the marzipan layer
  1. Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until a thick ball of dough is formed
  2. Turn the paste out onto a work surface and knead it a few times. Roll it into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate whilst waiting for the ganache layer has firmed up
  3. Liberally sprinkle some icing sugar on a work surface and roll out half of the marzipan to about ½cm thickness
  4. Cut to size to cover the 20cm/8-inch square brownie layer
  5. Any unused marzipan will keep - covered in cling film - for a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
For the chocolate layer
  1. Melt the dark chocolate and pour evenly over the marzipan. Allow to set completely before 'cutting off the crusts' and slicing into portions
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Charity Vintage: Kilner jars

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collection of vintage Kilner jars for sale by & in support of Wesley Community Furniture(ends 23 Sep, 2014 20:07:23 BST)

With all the jam, jelly and preserve making that I’ve been doing this summer, I’m almost clean out of jars. I always give away a lot of what I make to family & friends so the jars are never to be seen again. This collection of 16 vintage Kilner jars for sale by & in support of Wesley Community Furniture* would set me up nicely again.

Kilner jars are great for preserves but are also useful for storing dry foodstuffs like rice, pasta, peas, beans, lentils and dried fruit. And they’re so much prettier than the plastic bags they come in!

*Wesley Community Furniture aims to work in partnership with others to provide furniture and other household items at the lowest possible prices to those in greatest need in Manchester, to further relieve poverty by providing jobs, volunteering and training opportunities, and to recycle and re-use as much of the material they receive as possible.



Blackberry jelly

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Homemade blackberry jelly in jars

Wild fruit has been bountiful this year. During the month of August we foraged over 4 kilos of blackberries. We could have had much, much more; but it was all we could fit in our freezer. Besides, we didn’t want to be greedy – we left lots for other people and hungry birds.

We make blackberry jelly and mixed berry jelly every year; along with a few jars of wild raspberry jelly if we harvest enough of those. Blackberry jelly isn’t the kind of thing you can normally pick jars up of in the supermarkets. I’ve no idea why, it’s dark and delicious and doesn’t cost much to make. All you have to fork out for is some white sugar and a few lemons!

I normally use a recipe in my old Cordon Bleu Preserving recipe book, but this time I found the dead easy Quick Bramble Jelly recipe in Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course.

Next week Thursday, our Cakes & Bakes post will be about what we’ve been eating our jelly with. Stay tuned! 🙂

Blackberry jelly

Blackberry jelly

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo blackberries
  • 1 kilo granulated sugar
  • 3 lemons, un-waxed
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Instructions

  1. Rinse & drain the blackberries in a colander in the sink
  2. Put the berries into a heavy-based saucepan or preserving pan with 400ml/14 fl oz of water and cook on a low heat with a lid on for 20-25 minutes
  3. Occasionally give them a mash to reduce them to pulp and squeeze as much juice out of them as possible
  4. Still on a low heat, add the sugar and squeezed lemons (the entire lemon - seeds, juice and actual lemon!) to the pan and stir until all the sugar has dissolved completely (about 10-15 minutes)
  5. Turn the heat right up and boil fairly rapidly for 8-10 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent it from sticking to the base of the pan
  6. Carefully pour or ladle the blackberry mixture into a jelly strainer set over a large heat-proof bowl or saucepan (you could also use a square of muslin set into a strainer over the bowl/saucepan)
  7. Using a wooden spoon, get all the liquid through as quickly as possible, squeezing the remaining pulp as much as you can - but do be quick, as the jelly sets if you take too long (if it does begin to set before you've had a chance to put it into the jar, just gently reheat it)
  8. Decant the jelly into sterilised jars, cover with waxed discs and allow to cool before screwing the lids down tightly
  9. They should store for a year or more
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