" The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts all on a summer's day; The Knave of Hearts he stole the tarts and took them clean away"... so goes the rhyme from Alice in Wonderland.
The tarts the Queen made are jam tarts and one of the first things my mum ever taught me to bake. I had all but forgotten about these lovely treats until I received a lovely e-mail last week from Mary Ann Garrett in Ohio who had heard lemon tarts mentioned on a TV programme and wanted to know more.
Any historical reference to jam tarts appears at the same time sugar was available for jam making (honey, though sweet is no good for making jam) and as sugar in any form was costly, the humble jam tart had a quite a status symbol. The tarts no longer carry such celebrity, and has been out of fashion for quite some time but in these straitened are making a come back. And why not, jam tarts are one of the easiest things to make with a little pasty and jam or, for lemon tarts, using lemon curd and I don't know who anyone who doesn't enjoy one (or two).