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Jam-filled sweet tarts

Eating and love just go together. Each one leads to the other, really, and nibbling a treat with someone you love creates bonds through a shared experience of the senses. Food equals mood, I say, and what better to sweeten up a sweetie than warm hand-held tarts oozing with sweet and sticky jam. What a good ol' glorious mess.

These sweet tarts are simple to make, using a rolled-out pastry dough cut into rounds and pressed into a muffin tin. Each tart shell is filled with a heaping spoonful of jam, then baked in the hot oven until it bubbles and blips. I used strawberry jam here, but any type would work nicely. Sweet and sassy, these tarts are. If they could talk they'd say, "It's not hot in here. It's me."

Here's how I made them:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp cold water
1 1/2 cups prepared jam

While my oven preheated to 350 degrees (F), I started the pastry by blending the flour and butter in a large mixing bowl using a hand pastry blender (this can also be done by working two knives across each other) until the mixture was uniformly crumbly. In a separate small bowl, I beat the egg with the vinegar and cold water using a fork. The wet mixture was stirred into the flour mixture using the fork, just until the dry ingredients were incorporated. I formed the pastry dough into a large ball and rolled it out on a well-floured work surface using a rolling pin to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using the rim of a small bowl that was 1 1/2 inches bigger around than the holes in my muffin pan, I cut circles of pastry and pressed them gently into the pan. Using the tines of a fork, I pressed a decorative edge around each tart. A heaping tablespoon of jam was spooned into each tart, filling no more than half way. Some extra rolled dough was pressed with a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to create tart toppers. The tarts baked in the oven for 30 minutes until the pastry was lightly golden and the jam bubbling.

After snapping and editing all these pics, I have to say those are some naughty little tarts!

What are your delicious Valentine's plans?