Assumption Tarts


Don’t read this post if you are the type that gets all huffy when someone takes light-hearted pokes at you. Just don’t. Heeheehee. You were forewarned! Assumption tarts are not something I grew up with, so I don’t have the strong benefit of “it’s a kid thing” My mom didn’t go to school there, my aunts didn’t go there and my sisters definitely did not go there. So tasting it without any history, and as an adult overly focused on food, I don’t quite get what the big deal is all about; they are kind of like hard, less tasty pie crust that is used as a foil for some quite excellent guava jelly. And since the recipe harks back to the early 1800’s (according to their tins), I suspect the original recipe was nothing more than flour, lard and perhaps a little sugar and salt. Today, of course, I suspect it is predominantly Purico or vegetable shortening with very little butter, if any.

My wife’s family has a long history with the Assumption. tart3And even she sees the humor in calling the delicacy an “Assumption Tart.” Considering the other connotation of a “tart”, this is all just too amusing for Marketman not to comment on. Might we have also evolved an “Atenean Gigolo” for say a wickedly snazzy yo-yo used out in the school parking lot? Or a “Maryknoll floosy” for a particularly cheery skirt? Or if we go international: a “Wellesley Wench”, “Holyoke Harlot”, or “Smith Siren”??? Heeheehee. No, let’s get back to the tart. It is good. It just isn’t THAT GOOD, in my own opinion. I realize it raises funds for good causes and so what if it isn’t brilliant, it has tradition, it features guava jelly (a native delicacy that so few still otherwise enjoy) and it apparently makes folks happy. At PHP450 for this tin with the Madeliene type smiling nun on the cover, it has just two layers or crust inside and a small container of guava jelly. Pricey. I could probably make this at home for 1/5 of the price or less…

I decided to whip out my homemade mangosteen jam and try it on the wedge of a tart crust and it was good; but admittedly, tart3NOT as good as the pairing with guava jelly (mangosteen jam on left wedge in photo up top, guava jelly on the right wedge). Hmmm, one day I will play with this concept and make some tastier and less hard crusts then top it with some cream cheese or nice vanilla ice cream, a fig compote or mangosteen jam and see what that tastes like… Now all I need is a snazzy name that will last centuries after I have gone. With my current pre-occupation with James Bond movies I could perhaps call it a “Bond-Age Tart” or a “Stylish Tart” or a “Tasty Tart” or “Tarty Tart”; what would you suggest??? And let’s not even dwell on the vision of the President of the Republic and other folks of my mother’s age bracket in those plaid skirts at their 50th reunion…now that, truly makes me shudder involuntarily! And, not, in a good way…if you know what I mean! No real offense meant at any of the many alumnae of the above mentioned institutions… Enjoy your TARTS!!!


42 Responses

  1. I wonder why my mother, Assumption alumna, 1940 something, never mentions this? From the picture I initially thought it was a biscuit or a pie crust; reading the ingredients you listed, I related it to the San Nicolas cookies, dry, but tasty with some jam.

    Bond-age tart!

  2. if your tart is “pang masa”, branding would not be a problem. You can always call it, BOOM TARA TA TART. (horrible…)

  3. What people will pay for a bite of nostalgia..P450 is steep for those tarts. The tins probably cost more than the ingredients! But hey, its for charity and its Christmas afterall! For your recipe, I say use butter and ground almonds in the dough and pair it with the compote of fig. I recently came across a really nice Fig Jam from a store called Monastica. And coincidentally (as it relates to your post), all of their products are made by Nuns living in abbeys all over France!

  4. ateneo gigolo? hmmm…it’s easy to stick the tag to a few priests i know…back to the tarts (that’s what i meant all along ;-> …. i know you’ll keep coming up with things to do with your mangosteen jam, MM. however, unlike last year, the mangosteen harvest in davao this year was very low, so i didn’t have the chance to make jam. a pate’ sucree or a shortbread crust might be good with this “tart”.

  5. Haha! The title immediately conjured an image of a colegiala wearing a naughty school girl uniform ala-Britney’s Hit Me Baby (One More Time). Is there a Paulinian kind? Would probably be less expensive! The food, I mean.

  6. As a genuine MAryknoller (as opposed to the Miriam-ites of today), I had a smile on my face when I read the title ‘Assumption Tarts’…but then I read ‘Maryknoll floozy’. Whoops!

    But I liked acidboy’s La Salle fruitcakes!! Ateneo Gigolos? Better yata Ateneo Amboys or Ateneo Snoots? This is fun!

    What about Bond Biscuits? or James Jammies?

  7. Have you seen the neon sign above Lord Stow’s Egg Tart shop in Glorietta?

    “We Sell Tarts!”

    I’ve always imagined some hi-fashion photo shoot there.

  8. i love assumption tarts!! i love the guava jelly… well i’m from AC so what can i say? haha i don’t exactly miss the tart itself but when i eat it, it brings back good memories. :-) the nuns give the students a slice each every assumption day!

  9. They actually sell baked goods called “ASSUMPTION TARTS?” That is so hilarious, had I known that when I was still in school I would have made better use of that information. =)

  10. all the women in my family from my grandmother on down have gone to Assumption. so yes i’m pretty familiar with ‘assumption tarts’. well, you’re right they’re not that great. they’re really more of a tradition associated with the Assumption school , and if tasting them from outside that, erm, milieu, one wonders what the fuss is about.

    they are a creation of the nuns from generations ago, and that basically means a super simple recipe in keeping with the austere and frugal atmosphere of convent life back in the day.

    i used to eat them as a kid (the presentation has changed since then) but see no point in eating them now. they’re not bad though, from a nostalgia point of view.

    as i grew up of course i preferred the larger, warmer, softer, curvier, more tactile type of assumption tart. hard to come by but once you’ve had one you never go back. to the original tarts.

  11. It doesn’t work to create variations of this tart. Why it is so good is probably because it’s so simple. I’m not sure. Maybe it IS because it brings back floods of memories. Isn’t guava jelly a 70s thing? I rarely have it (like twice in a decade) but when I do, images of dem nuns, Assumption in the 70’s, unhealthy cafeteria food come rushing back. You should try our cottage pie and “Assumption meat”.

  12. I’m from Assumption so I am familiar with both tarts ;)

    My friends rave about this pie crust with jelly snack…but truth be told, even as I ate it along with the rest of them, I couldn’t help thinking, “this is like eating skyflakes and guava jelly”…maybe it was because i was just a fat kid then, intent on more calorific pursuits…but I’d gladly buy it now for the charity…

    As for the other tart…we are not as bad as you think :) Ok, ok, maybe sometimes! Hehehe :)

    Acidboy: “la salle fruitcakes”? Do you have the contact number?

  13. Hooooray MM for featuring Assumption tarts. I grew up with them as I am a cradle-to-grave Assumption girl.

  14. I am also amused by the strategic positioning of the word “tarts” on the nun’s uh-humm “lower area” LOL

  15. A 4th generation AC girl myself, this is truly a piece of nostalgia.

    My mom and grandmother used to tell me the origin of this simple tart. In WWI, supposedly a bishop was visiting one of the Assumption Convents in France and ofcourse the nuns wanted to bake a cake for the bishop. However, the pantry was almost bare and there were no rations of food or baking supplies forthcoming. So, they just used whatever was in their pantry and created what we now know as Assumption tart. I am pretty sure that the guava jelly is a local touch by the nuns who worked in San Simon, Pampanga.

    The nun logo by the way is what students fondly call “The Purple Dot”. Hee hee!

    Eagerly await your tart recipe!

  16. “All hail to our beloved Assumption…” Wow, talk about a blast from the past! Would’ve recognized those tarts ANYWHERE! Why we bought them at all beats the heck out of me. Ah those nuns … couldn’t cook worth a damn, but boy, they sure were master marketing minds!

  17. oh man! I never liked those tarts, but I would always buy them during the holidays… I mean it was for charity, right?

    But I actually DO LIKE our cottage pie and the Assumption meat… ah, them good old days!

  18. i graduated from assumption antipolo high school and i always thought those tarts suck. during senior year for english, we were made to write a valedictory speech. the content of mine basically was ‘dissing’ the renowned assumption tarts and not getting what the big deal was. anyway, my english teacher made me join the speechfest for kicks, and i think i won for unraveling to the assumption community how they have been blinded and delusional all along. hehehehe.

    and mm, about the bond thing, maybe your next EB can have a casino royale or basta bond theme. that way, you have the perfect reason to wear a tux! and you might really be mistaken next time for 007! whatchathink the next EB should be a costume party, if you can call formal evening attire a costume (cos i do).

  19. filet minion, unfortunately, I think his tux was definitely savile row, custom made to accomodate every part of his made for movie physique… At least USD4,000 to replicate… too much for me… that could buy me a personal trainer for a year! If I had to go RTW, Armani Collezione 40L would do reasonably well, but still too nosebleed pricetag material… Aston Martin another USD175,000 and Omega watch 3,650 + tax…

  20. Woohoo! MM has a lot of Assumption girl fans, including me! I still love Assumption tarts (maybe it’s the guava jelly I love, I always have a bottle or two in NY), and yes, we good humored ones don’t mind being called Assumption tarts (good naturedly anyway!) I was home last month for homecoming, and I must say the Assumption tarts tasted best. The siomai, cottage pie and Assumption meat tasted better in my memory, but the tarts were yummy. When I was a kid, we used a knife or spoon to spread the jelly on the crust. Now, I think the guava jelly is thicker and harder to spread that the crust breaks easily if you push too hard. A friend had a brilliant idea and asked the nuns to put the guava jelly in squeeze bottles, and that worked fantastically. 25 year from high school though, the tarts have shrank to a size where two can fit in your palm. Back in the day only one could fit. MM, when you figure out the recipe for the crust, please share, then I can have my little girls have a taste of what it is all about.

  21. A Maryknoller here but FYI the recipe is in the Assumption Class (forgot which year) Cookbook available at National Bookstore. Proceeds of that book go to charity.

  22. MM,

    Just to clarify lang: Brioni did the suits and tux (again) for the latest Bond film, not a Savile Row tailor- but still you would end up nga probably investing $4,000 to $5,000 on a bespoke 2 piece from them also. Also to dagdag lang: his shirts were by Turnbull & Asser, and his shoes were John Lobb. Which means what Daniel Craig wears in one shoot probably cost more than my whole wardrobe cabinet.

  23. acidboy, you are too funny, thanks for that accurate update. I forgot Brioni was the Bond tailor. But the tux did look great. I never aspired to John Lobb shoes, they would cost more than a decent thoroughbred horse from Batangas… but I am going to the Dante Alighieri dinner at the Goldenberg Mansion tonight and will be in a white Turnbull & Asser shirt, my favorite shirt tailor along with Charvet for more sophisticated colors and the best ties in the world. Yes, I do occasionally splurge on the things that matter…heehee.

  24. a maryknoller here with assumptionista aunts and cousins and friends.. and i think this post is funny :) never found what the fuss about those tarts. and maryknoll floosy! good one!

  25. MM,

    Ooh…. Charvet- only one word to describe their ties- decadent! I do hope you cover the Dante Alighieri dinner here. Will that be your James Bond moment? And from an admirer of “things that matter”, care to share what bespoke suit you’re wearing with your T&A shirt? How about shoes? Perhaps Edward Green or Berluti?

  26. Lei and Acidboy, yes I plan a post on the dinner, but I regrettably didn’t bring a camera (I thought it would be uncouth) but surprisingly, everyone else seemed to have one. So if I manage to wangle a photo or two from them, it will be in the post… acidboy, nope, just a Corneliani, off the racks from Bergdorf Goodman, I do actually slot straight into a 40L so I can buy well RTW, and some old Church’s of England shoes from my go-go work days…, oh, and a real fine linen handkerchief, starched so the points would make even Bond proud…heeheehee. I hope I don’t get fishpan backlash from this comment…

  27. Oh, so MM made it to the dinner at the Goldenberg mansion. Sigh, I didn’t make it. Thanksgiving dinner with the family instead. I thought I’ll be able to see James Bond’s Pinoy counterpart.hehehe. Maybe even a bunch of wannabes too.

    Anyway, got this tarts last weekend,didn’t like it that much.I guess there is something with food identified with schools huh? Back in college, CHS offered some funny treats. Like Baked Mac which isn’t baked at all and combination sandwiches like Ham & Cheese (half of the sandwich with ham, the other half with cheese) So when you eat the sandwich, you gotta bite it from one side and to the other side! LOL. Well I even complain the first time I bought it, I though something was missing and so the manang from the kitchen said, “ineng, hati yan pagdating sa gitna kita mo na yung keso”.

  28. If mentioning the Turnbull & Asser shirt will turn bull and allow an asser to complain, then that will definitely be a “fishpan backlash.”

  29. hi MM. few people are aware but i actually spent one segment (four years in grade school) of my education in assumption. lurve assumption tarts!!! (talk about bringing back memories…) but since i didn’t spend my entire education there, i guess i don’t qualify as an assumption tart myself =)

  30. MM,

    not a bad choice, not a bad choice at all! corneliani’s jackets are very well made: half canvassed, good fabric, and leaves a good slim silhouette. church shoes, too- good construction, and judging by the length of time you owned them- they’re probably made back when the Church family owned them, not its present owner the Prada group- hence they were most probably still made from the old factory in Northamptonshire in the old English tradition. (though i find their shoe lasts quite robust for my taste) oh, and linen pocket squares, eh?! very nice! i think i have found a kindred. okay, i will stop with the gushing and off topic drivel lest i get a fishpan backlash too! cheers, mm!!!

  31. Help! We are going to have our 20th anniversary reunion on August 15 — Assumption Day ofcourse! And we really want to replicate the Assumption tart. Using your network, is there any chance for you to help me get this recipe?

    I would really appreciate it.


  32. Well, I am an Assumptionist and I’ve been eating these Assumption Tarts at least once every year since I was 4. In school, they only give one slice of the tart per student and one slice is only about the size of your palm. I agree, paying P450 for a few Assumption Tarts is quite pricey but then most of us think it’s well worth your money. Even though I have been eating these treats since I was 4, I still look forward to every Assumption Day for that is the day where they give out free tarts. If you take a bite out of a newly baked, fresh from the over Assumption Tart, it will change your life.. for the better, of course. I assume you haven’t tried that yet. Oh well, that’s one more thing you can put down on your list of food to try. One bite of that newly baked Assumption Tart feels just like coming home.. Like a home with a spoonful of guava jelly. Enjoy.

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