These are the kind of little morsels that skipped out of your Grandma's kitchen, they are up there with Rock Buns and other homely things that were stored in larders, on top shelves in tins.
225g self raising flour
100g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon of cold milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of strawberry or cherry jam (you can use any jam you wish, it's all down to taste. Just make sure it's a jam that sets. We have made these with lemon curd too, rather gooey*)
Sugar for sprinkling
Get your oven up to temperature at 200c/Gas mark 6. In a large bowl add the 225g of flour and 100g of caster sugar. Add the butter and rub into the ingredients using the tips of your fingers, don't maul it, just gently rub until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. In a jug beat the egg and the milk together, add the vanilla and stir in. Add this to your crumb mixture, use a round bladed knife to mix in until it forms a soft dough. You can get your hands into it if you wish, if the dough remains sticky add a little more flour but if the mixture is dry, add some more milk. The watchword here is a little at a time until the dough is soft and pliable. Be gentle, don't thumb the dough. Divide the dough into 14-16 portions depending on the size you want your jam bakes to be, do it by eye, the beauty of these bakes is that they are homemade and irregular. Place them on two butter greased trays, make sure there is plenty of room between the jam bakes to allow from them to rise and spread. Flour your thumb and press into the middle of each bake to make a small indentation. Don't be heavy handed here and flatten the dough down making a doughnut instead of a Tom Thumb. With a teaspoon put a marble sized amount of jam into the centre of each bake. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 180c/Gas Mark 4 for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove trays from oven and sprinkle the Tom Thumb Jam Bakes with a little sugar. Leave them to cool before placing them on wire racks to cool through. Store in an airtight tin on a top shelf. Hide them from little hands and hungry husbands.
* If you choose to do lemon curd you may find it easier to add some in the first bake and more curd after as the bakes cool.