An old English tradition, this star-shaped Epiphany Tart with it multicolored jams is meant to look like a stained glass window! As well as being very pretty, the tart is delicious and simple to make.
There seem to be two types of people when it comes to Christmas decorations: those that love them and loath to take them down on Twelfth Night (January 5) and those that can’t wait to see the end of them and enjoy seeing their house back to normal. If you are one of the former or one of the latter who enjoys baking, this is a neat little project that can extend the festive season and, let’s face it, we need all the extra enjoyment we can get!
Epiphany Tart is made in a star shape and is used to celebrate Epiphany (January 6) and the arrival of the Three Kings to the Nativity (Matthew, 2 1–12.) It is a very old recipe dating back to the beginning of the 18th century and is really just a jam tart using multiple fruit jam flavors. This treat was considered a delicacy in the Victorian age.
Originally (and interestingly), this tart gave a few hidden insights of the household’s social standing and was apparently noted amongst the neighbours. It showed how devout the household was and how well they were managing. The tart has 13 spaces—meant to symbolize Jesus and the twelve disciples—and a different jam was supposed to fit each one. You were doing pretty well in the 1800s if you could rustle up that amount of jam (even today, I only managed 5!).
The Epiphany Tart is an easy recipe, fun to do with kids, and takes you back to those lovely days of summer—especially if you harvested and canned your own fruit.
Use your favorite pastry recipe or brand or follow the directions for homemade dough below. While the tradition is 13 different jams, fit in as many as you wish (or have on hand)! My favorites are blackberry, raspberry, fig, cherry, and apricot. You can also use marmalades or preserves or even lemon curd.
Ready? See How to Make Epiphany Tart!
Serve a slice of tart with a good cup of tea (or pour a sherry—after all, we are trying to impress!). Enjoy!
Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, stand mixer, or in a medium mixing bowl.
Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolk and mix until the dough gathers itself into a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 to 2 hours (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Butter a 9” pie or tart tin or plate.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough so it will fit into the pie or tart pan. Reserve a fifth of the pastry to make your star shape.
Press the dough gently into the tart pan(s) and partially up the buttered sides, trimming away any excess that hangs over the edges.
It is easiest to make a 6-point star shape which gives the traditional 13 spaces. To make the 6-point star, take the leftover dough and roll it into a long rectangle. Then cut in strips and arrange the strip in the pie or tart pan as shown in the photo, pinching the dough so it makes walls that are high enough to hold pockets of jam.
Bake tart for 25 minutes. Remove and spoon the different jams into each space between the latticework strips. If you warm the jam first it will be easier to spoon in.
Make sure the jam does not bleed into the next segment.
Brush the pastry with a little milk. Bake another 10 minutes until jam is set and tart is lightly browned.
Cool on rack until ready to serve.