Think of this pastry as more of a cookie than a pastry dough — don’t worry about working it too much.
Yield: 8 tarts
22 ounces all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces sugar
6 ounces vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup jam, fruit butter, or preserves
1 large egg, plus 2 tablespoons of milk, for egg wash
1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.
2. Cream together the sugar and vegetable shortening on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour in three installments, alternating with three installments of the milk. Add the vanilla during the last milk installment.
3. Form the dough into a log and place widthwise onto 13 by 17 piece of parchment or waxed paper and fold over the paper. Using a half sheet pan as wedge, roll the dough into a log. This procedure tightens the log into a clean cylinder. Remove the waxed paper and slice dough into 16 two inch rounds. Place on the half sheet pan, cover, and chill for 1 hour.
4. Set two racks in the middle third of the oven and heat to 350 degrees F.
5. After the dough has chilled, roll each round out to a 5 to 6 inch circle in between to sheets or parchment or waxed paper. Fold over the edges of each round to create a rectangle. Roll out the rectangle to about 1/4 inch thickness. Repeat with remaining rounds.
6. Now match up the 16 rounds into 8 matching pairs. Brush one rectangle with the egg wash and top with 1 tablespoon of jam, fruit butter or preserves, spread into an even layer about 1/2 inch from the edge. Top with another pastry rectangle. Use a fork to seal the tart by pressing the tines long the edge. Gently dock the top of the tart with the fork. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
7. Bake for 25 minutes on a parchment paper lined half sheet pan until the edges are just beginning to brown. Cool for 15 minutes on a cooling rack , then eat one with a glass of milk. Cool the rest thoroughly than bag label and keep for a week. The leftovers can be re-heated in your friendly neighborhood toaster.
8. Yes, you could frost these, but I really don’t think that … Oh, okay. In a small bowl slowly whisk together 4 ounces of confectioner’s sugar into 2 tablespoons whole milk the paint on the front of the tarts. Allow to dry before stacking, storing and snarfing.
Courtesy Alton Brown, adapted from I’m Just Here for More Food