Friday, January 6, 2012

An Epiphany Tart

Thanks to the recommendation of my SIL, we have been enjoying a family read aloud called The Thirteen Days of Christmas.The children have found it entertaining and informative. The antics of the young man pursuing his true love are entertaining, but the insight into English traditions during the 12 days of Christmas have made us more than a little curious on more than one occasion... Churching Day, Adam's Day, Dancing Day and so on.

Allowing ourselves to indulge in a little Anglophilia, we were curious what the English traditions for celebrating Epiphany were. We are saving that last chapter for tonight! What we discovered was a spiced cake similar to a fruit cake which nobody was really keen on. Now, Jessica's rum cake looks divine! I could go for that! But not fruit cake. Sorry friends across the pond!

So we were pleasantly surprised when our research turned up this bit of tradition we'd never heard of but seemed simple enough... an Epiphany Tart!

I posted the recipe I used over at Catholic Cuisine, but you could also just use your favorite pie crust or shortbread recipe.

Dorothy Hartley, in her wonderful 'Food in England' describes the various designs of jam tart made (very competitively, especially for Church social events) by English housewives proud of their pastry-making skills. Skill was demonstrated by the number of different coloured jams that could be fitted between the spaces of the lattice top. One star-shaped design was called "Epiphany Tart" if it was made for this day. Done well, it must have looked like a stained-glass window. Use your favourite pastry recipe or brand, and find 13 different coloured jams, and you have it. ~The Old Foodie blog

We did not have 13 different jams, but we managed to get 6. I couldn't convince the kids to go for Tart Cherry or we would have had 7! Amaretto Peach Pecan was as crazy as they would get! It looks so pretty we almost don't want to eat it. If I can't figure out how to slice it, maybe we won't!



  1. Wow, how neat! We've saved the last chapter for tonight, too. But no amazing desert here, alas... :)

  2. That is really cool! (Or did, perhaps, you serve it warm? ;)

    One of the traditions I want to incorporate more fully is a celebration of the 12 Days of Christmas. We talked a lot about them this year, and sometimes I would hand over a little treat while singing, "On the 'nth' day of Christmas..." and we talked about the Christian meaning behind the 12 Days as found at this website...

    Okay, wait a minute. I guess we really did celebrate them.

    (Perfectionism much, Maggie? :)

  3. Well done! I have my copy of Dorothy Hartley's "Food in England" open beside me as I type; it's a wonderful book & gives a great understanding of why we cook foods in certain ways & the fascinating history of our cookery over at least a thousand years. I often use its recipes. It's a classic. And your Epiphany Tart looks perfect!
    [Valerie, NZ]

  4. It looks wonderful! The memories you are making with your children will never be forgotten.


  5. I definitely have to get this book. My paternal grandmother makes Christmas pudding every year. Her maternal grandparents were British and it is a spiced cake served with this really yummy syrup. (My husband was a little aprehensive at first, but you have to eat it with the syrup!) Anyway, she said her mother would make the cake on Christmas morning. It had to rise a few times and then she would wrap it in a cloth and boil it for several hours. The cake comes out in a perfect ball. How dear!!!! As my grandmother is now 85, I am making Christmas pudding with her this year, as she makes it and freezes it many months ahead of time!


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