If you love food – exchanging recipes, tasting one another’s attempts in the kitchen and creating weird and (hopefully) wonderful dishes of our own – you’re in the right place. With regular blogs from an awarding winning chef – slaving over a hot stove just got a little bit more exciting…

Frances Quinn’s Valentines Jar of Hearts

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For the sweet pastry:
250g plain flour, plus extra to dust
50g caster sugar
125g slightly salted and softened butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
A splash of milk or water
Jar of strawberry jam to fill

francesquinn3Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir through the sugar.
Rub in the butter with your fingertips to create a breadcrumb mixture.
Beat the egg and vanilla extract together in a mug.
Make a well in the breadcrumb mixture, add the egg and bring the pastry together, adding a splash of milk or water if necessary.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead gently into a ball, then cover with clingfilm and chill for 30-60 minutes.

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Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
Roll out the dough on to a lightly floured surface to a thickness of a 1 coin.
Cut into rounds with a fluted cutter, approx 6cm if creating mini sized tarts or 8cm if normal sized.
Press the pastry circles into either a 12 holed cake tin or 12 mini holed ones (or a mix of the two).
Fill the pastry cases just over half full with jam – any more and you risk your hearts oozing out too much jammy love in the oven!

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Roll out the trimmings and use an appropriate sized heart cutter to cut out your pastry hearts and place on to each of your jam filled tarts.
Bake the larger tarts for approx 15-20 minutes and the smaller ones for 10-12 minutes until the pastry is golden.
Leave the tarts to cool and firm up slightly in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack to cool down fully, or on to a plate if enjoying them warm.2 copy
To give your tarts an extra golden sheen, brush the pastry with a little beaten egg or milk.