Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Recipe: Jam Squares

I love having friends and visitors over.  

However I don't always have all the ingredients to make something really elaborate or the time.  But one thing I always have, is a roll of puff pastry in my deep freeze - or almost always.  If puff pastry could get an award, I would give it a thumbs up. 

I realise that there are some of you who very diligently make your own, or there is some green, organic puff pastry (probably with special ingredients like spinach, herbs and the likes - yuk!) but I go for the regular stuff.  Very upmarket I know.

With this I make jam squares - yummy, sticky, crunchy, sugary, eat-some-moreish-jam-squares. In fact I have known wives to hold their husbands back as they cannot resist going for seconds, then thirds and then those hidden fourths and fifths.  If these were packaged in the shop, they would probably come with a warning label : Proceed Cautiously 

Here's the Recipe 

* roll of puff pastry
*  2tbsp jam
*  1 cup sugar
* 100 g margarine/butter
* 1 cup cake flour

Step 1
Spray your baking sheet with a non stick spray or grease it if you like.  Roll out your pastry.  Make sure its defrosted properly before you start otherwise it will crack - like mine did because I was in a hurry.  But no fear, you can just press it together with your fingers. 

Step 2
You'll need about 2 big spoons of jam.  This is a tablespoon that we use for cereal or soup.  I used apricot jam here but you really can use any type.  If your budget really is tight, mixed fruit jams are just as good.  I often make a variety.

Step 3
Spread the jam fairly evenly over the puff pastry.  You need to do this very professionally like I do otherwise someone might say you are just a housewife with very few culinary skills.
Make sure you go to the edges otherwise they will be very dry.  Its a little like putting your tomato paste on a pizza - spread it all over.  If you put too much on, it can get a little soggy and won't bake as well.  This may not look like much but its enough.

Step 4
100 g Margarine block in the bowl. Make sure that its had time out of the fridge or deep freeze otherwise it makes it really hard to work with.  I have even used the soft margarine spreads and those also work (so really just use what you have).

Step 5
Add the sugar (you could probably use brown too if you wanted to) and flour.

Step 6
Take your rings off and get in there.  Rub the ingredients together until you have crumbs. The test for me is that if I take a handful and press it really hard in my fist it should make a ball but then fall apart when I press my fingers against it.  Its nice to have some chunky bits and then the finer pieces.  It gives the jam squares a nice texture.

Step 7
Spread the crumbs over your puff pastry. Also ensure that your nails are done in a red hue as it adds a bit of colour to your otherwise rather bland unprofessional photos.
Use it all up!  Or nibble some if you can't resist.  I always have to do quality control "testing" throughout my baking process.

Step 8
The trick to these is to cut them before you put them in the oven.  You will need to cut them slightly again once they are done, as the gooey jam smudges the lines but it makes it much easier when its done.  Cut them into squares and you can decide how big you want them.  With guests, I generally cut the blocks a little smaller, because they have to go further, but when it's just us - the children like big chunky pieces. 

Step 9
Put them in the oven at 180 deg Celsius for about 20 - 30 minutes.  Make sure the pastry doesn't burn.  Take them out the oven and while they are still hot, cut along the lines again and leave it to cool.  They will be very hot so don't try and eat them. They are deceptively cool on the outside but the jam is very hot and I have had many a blister in my mouth when I sneak a taster when I shouldn't have! (confession time).

Step 10
Put on a plate and enjoy!

Now I know this looks like a huge recipe because I divided it into 10 steps but it really is such a quick one. It will take you about 10 minutes to prepare, 20 -30 minutes to bake and then you will have the most delicious treat for your guests.

And you are probably wondering where the tribe are? After all how do you keep the children out of the kitchen when there is such deliciousness going on?
I gave them a mound of washing to fold up which they did right next to me, with the promise that when all the folding was done, they could have some.  Did it work?  Of course. And they did it so quickly and so well. 
Food in our house is a big motivator.  If I want anything done, I just do it before food, snacks or treats! 

Try this one and you will have your guests asking for more.  Enjoy!


  1. Hello there,

    I just found your blog through the link-up. This recipe looks really good. I am going to have to give it a try. I think I have the stuff in the fridge right now:)

    Amy Jo

  2. so that is how you always have neat bundles of folded laundry...child labor..good for you!!!My mom made these too, and added coconut to the top to make it even more the nail color:)

  3. Let me know how it goes. Ours were polished off this morning.

  4. Coconut sounds yummy! Will definitely need to try that one next time.

  5. lovely!


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