I have a bit of jam fetish. At the present moment, my fridge contains homemade strawberry jam, marmalade and lemon curd, as well as bought apricot and lingonberry jams. In the cupboard is more marmalade, as well as Christine Ferber’s Mirabelle, more strawberry jam and apple butter. So I keep an eye out for recipes that show off jam and help me to deplete my stock. One great use is to make a Victoria sandwich. Here the sweet cake and the bland cream form a perfect contrast with a fruity jam. But I don’t make a Victoria sponge very often, because it needs to be eaten the same day, and with two of us in the house, that’s a tall order. It’s useful to have some recipes for using up jam on hand, whether to use up a jar, or to show off a good pot of the homemade stuff (if you’re not into eating it with a spoon!).
Here I have gathered together four different takes on the idea of a jam bake, contrasting different types of pastry or dough with a jammy centre.
The classic route is a simple jam tart. This is one of those simple, classic recipes that needs all of the ingredients to be impeccable – it can be done cheaply and be ordinary, or done with care and quality, and be delicious. I like Dan Lepard’s recipe that bakes the tart cases blind, and then boils the jam separately before filling the cases, avoiding the problem of jam boiling over and cementing the tarts into the tins).
I’ve come across two recipes that use jam along with something between a pastry and a scone dough. The first was these walnut jam ‘scones’ from LA baker Zoe Nathan. Scones is a bit of a misnomer, as the dough is rich with butter, along with ground nuts. In fact, it’s so rich that you need to freeze the shaped dough before baking so that it will keep its shape in the oven. But what you get for all that butter is a really delicate, crumbly texture around the jam, so the central puddle of jam almost holds the whole thing together. Also, freezing the dough means that you can bake them in small quantities at a time and eat them fresh.
The second variation on this theme is a recipe for Linzer thumbprint cookies that appeared in Yotam Ottolenghi’s column a few weeks ago. Here he specifies something between a shortbread and scone dough, flavoured with citrus zest, fennel seeds and spices, and adding crunch with flaked almonds in the dough. I made the ones below with lingonberry jam and lemon curd – the lemon worked particularly well with the fennel seeds.
Jam crumble bars
Finally, using the soft set strawberry jam in the last post, I made a recipe from Kim Boyce’s brilliant book ‘Good to the Grain’, which showcases different grains and flours. This is a shortbread base, made with rye flour, topped with a good layer of jam, and then covered in a rye and oat crumble topping. Although the crumble was a bit too crumbly for me – I would probably add a spoonful of liquid next time to create bigger crumbles – this was delicious. The toasted, round flavour of the rye contrasted beautifully with the sweet jam. She suggests apple butter as a winter version, and I think that would be delicious too.