In my large family, every cousin, aunt, mother and grandparent makes these little tarts for special occasions. The love that goes into them is evident by their sweet tast with a slight almond flavored topping. My mother would make over 400 each winter and freeze them until they were served. Our family could hardly wait and would try to even eat them frozen. The recipe originated with my paternal grandmother, who was given the recipe form a dear friend that lived to be well over 100 years of age. This recipe has been made for more than 200 years, as it has been a family favorite for many, many generations.
The variations for this recipe are numerous. You can use strawberry, blueberry or any other fruit jam that you enjoy. —Melissa Li
unsalted butter, at room temperature
large eggs, at room temperature
pure almond extract
white rice flour
unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
chilled solid vegetable shortening, Crisco preferred. Cut into small pieces
With a hand held mixer cream butter and sugar together until well combined, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, and beat until well combined. Add almond extract. Slowly incorporate flour with mixing speed at low. Place topping in a medium sized bowl, cover and chill until tart assembly.
In the bowl of a large food processor add flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse for 10 seconds to quickly combine. In a separate bowl, combine egg, water and vinegar. beat to combine the egg with a small whisk or fork, and set aside. Add well chilled butter and shortening to flour mixture. Pulse to combine, so that the mixture resembles large rice granules (this may seem too much, but it's not) add the liquid mixture through the feed tube and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. Add more flour if needed, in small tablespoon size portions. Dough should not be sticky and should resemble pie crust dough. Wrap dough with plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably 4.
*You can also substitute your favorite pie crust for the base. Martha Stewarts Pate Brise recipe works well too.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Additional Ingredients: Seedless raspberry jam, 1 mediu sized jar. I use Smuckers, seedless raspberry jam.
You will need 4 small mini tart pans, non stick preferred.
Remove base and topping dough from the refrigerator. Let stand for 20 minutes. To assemble tarts first fill tart pans with the base dough by pinching off a 1 1/2 tablespoon size piece of the base dough and press into the pan so that the entire surface is covered. Make sure there are no holes and that the dough reaches the top of the pan sides. If any holes are seen, the jam can leek out during baking. Once all of the tart indentations are filled with the base dough, place no more than 3/4 teaspoon of seedless raspberry jam into each tart. Do your best to make the jam fall to the center of each tart. Using two teaspoons helps. Top the tarts with the topping dough. 1 tablespoon size scoop, placed directly on the top. Wipe of any excess jam that may have fallen on the pan.
Place pans in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Rotate pans if needed to ensure even baking. Tarts should not be brown on top, only slightly golden.
Once removed from the oven, cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the tarts from the pan with a dull knife or small metal spatula, being careful not to scrape your nonstick pans. The tarts will be hot, and the filling even hotter, so use caution. If any jam leaks through it can be difficult to remove as it will have bubbled up and over the pan. Use care to not overfill, You'd hate to waste this yummy dough!
Tarts can be frozen for up to 1 month in freezer safe bags.