Newfoundland Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart

Newfoundland Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart

Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart--spicy, sweet molasses pastry is paired with sharp and tangy Partridgeberry jam (lingonberry) for a taste explosion in your mouth.  Gobs of cream complete this traditional Newfoundland berry pie.  Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.

Molasses Jam Tart, using a variety of jams, is a traditional Newfoundland dessert.  Newfoundland and Labrador has an abundance of wild berries which, for centuries, have been picked and preserved for winter use.  Even today, many families still enjoy picking the wild berries during warm fall days.  

During the 19th century Newfoundland dried salt cod was traded for West Indian molasses.  Molasses would have been used for everyday sweetening as opposed to sugar which would have been saved for special occasions or used by the well-to-do merchants.  Molasses was used in tea, spread on bread and sweetened breads, cakes, puddings, pies, cookies and other sweet treats.  

It's no wonder someone eventually put the berries and molasses together into a delicious Molasses Jam Tart.

I remember the first time I tasted a Molasses Jam Tart. It was Grandparents' Day at the school where I taught.  The Grade 6 children had prepared a lovely program of music/songs, poems and stories to present to their beloved grandparents.  And, of course, every grandparent was as pleased as could be to watch their darling grandchildren perform.  As my classroom was across the hall from the cafeteria where the program was held I could hear the muffled sounds of the piano, singing and applause all afternoon.  Following the program, as is the custom in Newfoundland, lunch was served to those in attendance.  The parents and grandparents had supplied all manner of sandwiches, cookies, cakes and pies and the school had supplied the beverages.

As soon as I had bade my Grade 1 students farewell for the day, I made a beeline directly to the cafeteria to scout out the lunch table for any goodies that may have still been hanging around.  I immediately spied a peculiar looking pie on one of the tables.  It had a very dark crust and was filled with some kind of jam filling.  Upon further inspection (in my mouth) I ascertained the pie was a spicy molasses crust filled with the beloved Newfoundland partridgeberry.  Looking around I asked one of the grandparents what kind of pie I was eating.  She laughed and told me she had made the pie and it wasn't a pie it was a Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart. She also told me people have been making molasses jam tarts for years.  Obviously, my family hadn't!  And to top it off there was a can of Fussell's thick cream to spoon over the pie.  Oh, my! Yum! What a treat!

I decided I had to make one of these tarts myself.  And here I am, years later, doing so.  The hardest part of making this tart is making the lattice top.  The dough is so soft the strips of dough keep breaking.  I persevered and eventually I had a nice top for the tart.  Once can also just lay the strips down one way and then do a second layer the other way.  It's not a real lattice but it may save your nerves! 

When the pie is first baked the crust is crisp but leave it overnight and it mellows and becomes a lovely soft cookie-like pastry. We enjoyed the Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart at our Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday past. 

You will need a 9-inch pie or tart pan. The jam can be made several days before you make the pie.  Keep it refrigerated until ready to use.  The tart also freezes well for future eating.


Printable recipe at bottom of post.

Newfoundland Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart

1 unbaked double crust molasses pastry
1½ - 2 cups partridgeberry jam or you can substitute cranberry jam or sauce


Partridgeberry Jam

4 cups fresh or frozen partridgeberries (lingonberries)
or 3 cups Partridgeberries and 3 apples peeled and diced
2 cups sugar (may reduce to 1½  cups if using apples)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the berries, apples (if using) and sugar to a boil.  You may add a little water if the berries are sticking before the juice is released.  Boil gently until a jam consistency has been achieved.  This may take anywhere from half an hour to an hour.  Stir occasionally so the jam will not burn.  Remove from heat and let cool.


Note: Partridgeberry Jam can be quite tart.  Feel free to add a little more sugar or make with less berries and a greater amount of apples.


Molasses Pastry

½ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup fancy molasses
2 tablespoons water
1¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

In a large bowl beat butter, brown sugar, molasses and water together.   Sift or mix together the flour, spices, salt and baking soda together.  Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and combine well.  The dough will be quite soft, similar to a cookie dough.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate about an hour.  This will make the dough easier to handle.


To assemble the tart: Remove the Molasses Pastry from the refrigerator and divide into two pieces, one a little larger than the other.  On a well-floured surface roll the larger piece into a rough circle a little smaller than a 9-inch pie or tart pan.  Butter the pie or tart pan.  Carefully lift the dough into the buttered pie pan and press and fit the dough up the sides to the edge of the pan. Don't make the crust too thick.  You want it about a quarter of an inch thick.  Lay aside any left over dough.  


Pour the cooled jam into the pie crust.  Use between 1½ - 2 cups partridgeberry jam, depending on how thick you like your tart.  Any leftover jam can be used on toast. 


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


Take the second piece of pie dough and roll to about ¼-inch thick.  Cut long strips about ¾-inch wide.  Carefully weave the strips on top of the filling into a lattice top.  Or if you do not wish to do a lattice top just lay the strips one way and then another.  Stick the strips to the bottom crust by brushing a little water between the layers and pressing together.  Trim off any overhang and if using a pie plate flute the edge or press with the tines of a fork to make a nice edge. 


Place the pie in the preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking an additional 30 minutes.  To avoid burning the edges an aluminum foil shield can be placed over the pie before baking.   When baked let cool on baking rack. 


Serve the pie with whipped or canned cream or scoops of vanilla ice cream.


Makes 1 9-inch pie or 8 servings.



Mix the berries, apples (if using) and sugar together in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil until you have a good jam consistency.  Let the jam cool until ready to use. Make the Partridgeberry Jam before beginning to make the dough.  You can make this several days before and keep refrigerated. 


To make the soft cookie-like dough beat the butter, brown sugar and molasses together.  Mix in the dry ingredients.


Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.  This will make the dough easier to roll out.


After chilling divide the dough into two pieces one piece slightly larger than the other.


On a well-floured surface roll the larger piece into a rough circle.  


Grease the pie plate or tart pan with a little butter.  This molasses pastry does not have as much fat as a traditional pie pastry and may stick if the dish is not greased. 


Place the rolled dough into the pie plate.  Press and fit the dough up the sides of the pie plate.  Don't make the crust too thick.  A quarter of an inch thick should be thick enough.  It will rise a little while baking because of the baking soda.  Lay aside any left over dough.


Pour the cooled jam into the crust and spread evenly. 1½ - 2 cups should be plenty.  The jam can be very overpowering if it too thick in the pie.


Roll out the second smaller piece of dough and cut in strips.  Weave a lattice design on top of the jam.  This can be difficult because the dough is very soft, even after chilling.  You can also make a fake lattice by laying the strips one way and then laying a second layer the other way on top of the first layer.  If you have a tart pan, trim off the edges flush with the edge of the pan.  If you are using a pie plate, like I did, flute the edges close to the filling.  Lay aside any left over scraps of dough.


Molasses burns very easily so I would strongly urge you to make an aluminum foil shield to lay on top of the pie while baking.  This is just a sheet of foil with the middle cut out.  I scrunched the sides down around the plate.


Bake the pie 15 minutes at 375 degrees and then for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  When the pie/tart is baked let cool on a baking rack.


I had some scraps of left over dough.  I rolled the dough into 2-inch balls and rolled them in granulated sugar. I baked the cookies about 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees.  I'd call these a bonus bake!


Newfoundland Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart
  Now, back to the pie.  Doesn't that look good?!!


Newfoundland Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart
A well-baked pie cuts clean and presents beautifully on the plate. 

Newfoundland Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart
Cream or ice cream perfectly complements a Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart.  

A tasty traditional Newfoundland dessert!
Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart



print recipe

Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart
Spicy, sweet molasses pastry is paired with sharp and tangy Partridgeberry jam (lingonberry) for a taste explosion in your mouth. Gobs of cream complete this traditional Newfoundland berry pie.


Newfoundland Molasses Partridgeberry Jam Tart
1 unbaked double crust molasses pastry
1½ - 2 cups partridgeberry jam or you can substitute cranberry jam or sauce


Partridgeberry Jam
4 cups fresh or frozen partridgeberries (lingonberries)
or 3 cups Partridgeberries and 3 apples peeled and diced
2 cups sugar (may reduce to 1½  cups if using apples)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the berries, apples (if using) and sugar to a boil.  You may add a little water if the berries are sticking before the juice is released.  Boil gently until a jam consistency has been achieved.  This may take anywhere from half an hour to an hour.  Stir occasionally so the jam will not burn.  Remove from heat and let cool.

NotePartridgeberry Jam can be quite tart.  Feel free to add a little more sugar or make with less berries and a greater amount of apples.

Molasses Pastry
½ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup fancy molasses
2 tablespoons water
1¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

In a large bowl beat butter, brown sugar, molasses and water together.   Sift or mix together the flour, spices, salt and baking soda together.  Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and combine well.  The dough will be quite soft, similar to a cookie dough.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate about an hour.  This will make the dough easier to handle.

To assemble the tart: Remove the Molasses Pastry from the refrigerator and divide into two pieces, one a little larger than the other.  On a well-floured surface roll the larger piece into a rough circle a little smaller than a 9-inch pie or tart pan.  Butter the pie or tart pan.  Carefully lift the dough into the buttered pie pan and press and fit the dough up the sides to the edge of the pan. Don't make the crust too thick.  You want it about a quarter of an inch thick.  Lay aside any left over dough.  

Pour the cooled jam into the pie crust.  Use between 1½ - 2 cups partridgeberry jam, depending on how thick you like your tart.  Any leftover jam can be used on toast. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Take the second piece of pie dough and roll to about ¼-inch thick.  Cut long strips about ¾-inch wide.  Carefully weave the strips on top of the filling into a lattice top.  Or if you do not wish to do a lattice top just lay the strips one way and then another.  Stick the strips to the bottom crust by brushing a little water between the layers and pressing together.  Trim off any overhang and if using a pie plate flute the edge or press with the tines of a fork to make a nice edge. 

Place the pie in the preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking an additional 30 minutes.  To avoid burning the edges an aluminum foil shield can be placed over the pie before baking.   When baked let cool on baking rack. 

Serve the pie with whipped or canned cream or scoops of vanilla ice cream.


Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 9-inch pie or 8 servings

Comments

Anonymous said…
Your tart looks gorgeous! My nan used to put tea in her dough instead of water.

Robin :)
Lois Gill said…
Thank you for your comment, Robin. Tea is also very traditional in the recipe. I never drink tea so I don't have it in the house very often.

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