Nov 28

Maid of Honours with Blueberry Cinnamon Jam


Maids of Honour ~ not what you are thinking though.

Nothing to do with weddings here …. just good food …. good ‘ol traditional British food no less. Let’s start at the very beginning shall we?

Some months back, roughly about the time I sent in the Strawberry Jam Drops to the office, one of the girls loved it so much she dropped me a personal email insisting I make Maids of Honour next. She even sent me a link to a site that had a recipe. Here is what the email said …

Caz just asked if you do requests as she loved your jam and thinks it would be “to die for in a maid of honour”. I didn’t know what that was, but she insists that you will.


I read the email and immediately went, “What in heavens is that???” Lol, sorry Caz, am not quite the food encyclopedia you thought I was. However I am very pleased she mentioned it because as it turns out it is brilliant! What I like about this recipe is that it is one of those great British treasures; a traditional recipe steeped in history. Its a shame its not more popular. Not only do I not see these treats in shops … I couldn’t even find a decent article about it on Wikipedia nor a demo video on YouTube! Miraculous indeed. I thought you could find everything on Wiki these days. Anyhoo, the website I was refered to via the email had some satisfactory historic details.


It turns out that this recipe has its origins in the Tudor Dynasty (think Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn), about the first half of the 16th century. So the story goes that His Royal Highness chanced upon the Queen and her Maids of Honour eating these little cakes (tart??) one day and he helped himself to one. I think he sorta had the equivalent of an “O.M.G” moment and immediately ordered that the recipe be confiscated; kept under lock and key at Richmond Palace.

It has also been said that the young maiden responsible for creating the recipe was held prisoner on the palace grounds and was made to bake these goodies ONLY for the king and his royal household. Must have been awesome being king.


There aren’t very many articles or websites out there featuring Maids of Honour, so I don’t really know whether what I have made are authentic. By typing in the name of this recipe one website did come out prominently ~ it is the website of a bakery in Richmond, UK. Note to self : If ever in Richmond or Kew … must pay bakery a visit.

They claim to be the producers of Maids of Honours using the original recipe and they have maintained traditional baking methods. Everything is weighed, mixed and baked by hand, every single day, seven days a week. They have been in the business of baking for the past 120 yrs. However, looking at the picture they have of their version of the little cakes, they look decidedly different from what I have created. Hmmm …. they seem to have made their bases from puff pastry and the tops look like baked custard … almost like a Portuguese Egg Tart.


Another recipe I read up on uses a tart-like sweet pastry, not unlike a shortbread biscuit. Inside was jam, and the top was the same sweet pastry. I liked this recipe the best coz it meant I just had to make one batch of pastry.


Yet another recipe called for the use of a yellow cake mix to top off the cake / tart. I don’t know how that would go down ~ a tart base with a cake filling? It seemed a bit odd to me. So I stuck with the second option; the puff pastry tart base option didn’t appeal to me either. Puff pastry has its place with savoury pies and vol-au-vents, not jam filled nom noms.



Very simple recipe, which appeals to me when trying something new, and very few ingredients. However this means all the flavour comes directly from these few ingredients, so make sure you use only good quality stuff, especially the butter and the vanilla extract. But the highlight of the ones I just made was the jam. It was absolutely delish. Last Thursday we had to good fortune of visiting the Country Christmas Fair in Haarzuilens, Utrecht, and we bought some homemade jams. One was blueberry and cinnamon, the other was red currant and cherry jam. They went superbly well with these tart shells. Flipping the jars on their sides to read their ingredient list and the first was ‘FRUIT’. Now you don’t see that on a jam jar everyday. Most, if not all, supermarket brands would list ‘SUGAR’ as their main ingredient. These jams we bought were sweet but did not have a common jam-like consistancy. They were almost a cross between a fruit puree and a berry compote, for you could actually feel and taste the berries in your mouth. YUMMAY!! If ever I become a full-time business owner I would definitely go back to these guys and use their product in my recipes.







Ingredients :

  • 120 g  good quality butter, unsalted
  • 120 g fine castor sugar
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 330 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt


1. Heat oven to 180°C and prepare mini muffin pans by lightly spraying the insides with cake release spray.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. The colour of the butter should turn whiter than what you started out with.

3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add in the vanilla. Cream together with the sugar and butter mixture again for a further 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Add in the eggs one at a time and cream again until everything is well incorporated with a bit of air whipped in.

5. Sift flour and baking powder and salt together in a seperate bowl. Then add all at once into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. The mixture should come together into a pliable ball of dough.

6. Roll balls of dough about 15 g each (it is better to weigh each one to ensure you get the right amount per tart base each time), then press them into the muffin tin, pushing gently up the sides. What’s great about this dough is that it’s so soft, if you accidentally tear the bottom of the base simply pinch off a bit more dough and patch up the hole.

7. Fill each tart bottom with one teaspoon of jam of your choice …. I used this delicious blueberry and cinnamon jam we bought at a Christmas market last Thursday.

8. Flatten pieces of extra dough for the tops and gently press around the edges to seal in the jam. Do not over fill the tarts with jam or they will bubble over once in the oven.

9. Bake about 17 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. The pastry will harden overtime and become fairly firm. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature. A blob of cream wouldn’t be a bad idea either.






Permanent link to this article: http://foodflurries.com/sweet/maids-of-honour


  1. Liliana

    Viv I just saw Rob walk in with these.. i have lied and cheated to try to get my hands on them before staff meeting and still no luck!!! can you tell him I HAVE to have one now!

    1. bubviv

      Lol. I am sure he is going to be busy at some point and isn’t going to be around all day guarding the nest. 🙂 Maybe you should work in teams.

  2. mei

    yummmmssss…..can you deliver to switzerland???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *