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Giant Jam Tart // 1950s

HANDS UP! Who remembers this from their school days?
Our chief taste-tester, my 80-year-old grandmother, chose this week’s recipe. She worked as a dinner lady for more than 20 years in the local primary school between the 1980s right up until the early 2000s. A slice of giant jam tart with hot custard poured over was a school dinner pudding that you’d see only a couple of times per term and it was a firm favourite with British school children and staff alike! We just about remember it from our primary school days our-selves, so it was around at least until we left in 2000/2001 (a few years before the healthy school dinner revolution occurred).
We were very lucky to find this 1950s recipe for a Jam Plate Tart in our copy of Good House-keeping’s Cookery Compendium (pub. 1959), and the jam tart you end up with is for all intensive purposes just like what we remember – plus extra decoration and lemon curd as well as the raspberry jam we remember. The custard recipe we used is from the very same book.
Let us know if YOU remember this!
Original Recipe: 'Jam Plate Tart' (Book 7, 1959)
Speed: 5 minutes | Serves: 8


  • 170g plain flour

  • A pinch of salt

  • 43g margarine

  • 43g lard

  • A little cold water

  • 4 tbsp. raspberry jam

  • 4 tbsp. lemon curd

  • Custard



1. Sieve flour and salt into a bowl and then rub in the fat until no lumps remain. Mix in a little cold water to make a fairly stiff dough and then roll out quite thinly, about an eighth of an inch. Line a tart tin with the pastry, trim off the excess and prick the base a few times with a fork so that it doesn't rise in the oven.

2. Bring together the pastry scraps and roll these out to the same thickness as your pastry case. Cut out lots of little circles (we used a small bottletop to do this) and two or four longs strips of pastry that are at least as long as the diameter of your pastry case.

3. Dampen the rim of your pastry case with water and then stick the pastry circles all of the way around it. Then, move onto the strips. If using two strips, twist each strip and lay them into your pastry case in the shape of a cross. If using four strips (as we did), twist two of the strips together into a spiral, then twist the other two together in the same way so that you have a pair of double twisted strips of pastry. Lay these into your pastry case in the shape of a cross in the same fashion as described above. You will now have 4 sections to fill with the jam and lemon curd.

Note: We twisted 2 strips together to give us a little more height. The taller these 'barriers' are, the more jam/lemon curd you can fill the sections with as this will prevent them from spilling into each other as they bubble and bake! Just be aware that if you make them taller than even this and add more jam, you will probably need to wait for your tart to cool down for longer (maybe give it a whole hour to be safe). Whatever you do, don't risk burning yourself!

4. Fill alternating sections with raspberry jam and lemon curd. You'll get a lovely chapel window look.

5. Bake in a pre-heated oven set to 200°C / 392°F / Gas Mark 6 for about 25 minutes. Leave to cool down for at least 20 minutes before pouring some hot custard over and serving!


Original Recipe for 'Jam Plate Tart'

'BOOK 7': Good Housekeeping’s Cookery Compendium (1959)

Authors: The Good Housekeeping Institute

Publisher: The National Magazine Co. Ltd. And printed by Letterpress by Sun Printers Ltd. (Watford, England, U.K.)

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