|The Sign that Chinese New Year is upon us!|
I can't remember when I began making pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year, but I know that the recipe that I've only ever used is the one belonging to Joyce aka Dutchess-of-Cookalot.
She has a recipe for the pineapple jam, but I prefer to use the ready-packs available at Phoon Huat, and tweak them.
But her recipe for the pastry!!! OH!
I love her pastry recipe for its simplicity and result. There are so many recipes out there with ingredients like custard powder, milk powder, corn flour, and even cheese! And in a myraid of teaspoonfuls and half teaspoonfuls that clutters what is a very simple shortbread pastry.
The whole pineapple tart eating experience after baking these all these years is simple:
Enough crunch and crumbly buttery pastry, to enhance the chewy, fragrant, sweet-sourish, sticky mouthfeel of the pineapple jam. A hint of spices hits the nose. And all in one satisfying mouthful of pineapple tart.
The effort put into such a satisfying endpoint is certainly worth it. And with a bit of organisation, making these wonderful festive biscuits isn't that difficult.
The Pineapple Jam (To be prepared a day in advance)
1 packet AAA Pineapple Paste from Phoon Huat (This gives a sweet-sourish taste)
1 packet Premium Pineapple Paste from Phoon Huat (This gives a smoother texture to the overall jam)
2x 1.5" sticks of Cinnamon
1 Star Anise
Hot Water (about 1/2 cup - depends on how firm you want the overall jam to be)
- Mix all the ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl. I use a pastry cutter to mix my ingredients because of the hot water, and when it's sufficiently cooled, I get my hands in there to squish the jam and spices together.
- Microwave the mixture for about 3 minutes to get hot, but not cooking. Then leave it aside to cool down.
- Put it in the fridge overnight for the spices to enhance the jam further.
Once that's done, I roll 1 measuring teaspoonful of the jam, making sure to remove any black bits (stems of the pineapples) or spices that might be in the jam. These pineapple balls are put onto a large tray, in neat rows, and then the tray is wrapped in clear plastic before returning to the fridge.
|Jam in neat rows, and all the other parts of the tarts in progress|
The Pastry (To be made a day in advance)
I usually make the pastry a day in advance to give it sufficient time to rest. Also, because the weather is hot, the pastry can be very tricky to punch out, so preparing the pastry ahead and allowing it to cool sufficiently is a good idea.
340g Plain Flour
½ tsp Salt
1 tbsp Icing Sugar
250g Butter, cold (I used unsalted, but if you're using salted, you may reduce the amount of salt in the recipe)
1 Egg Yolk
25ml Ice-cold Water
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
Rolled Pineapple Jam
1 Beaten Egg+Water, for glazing
- Put salt in the bowl, then sift flour and icing sugar into it. Rub in cold butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs (See video).
- Mix in the egg yolk, ice-cold water and essence. Mix well to form a dough. Place in a plastic bag or plastic box and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I usually leave it overnight.
- Roll pastry out to 0.5 cm thickness between 2 baking papers, and either cut out or punch out the pineapple tart mould with a tart cutter. Place the tarts on a lined baking tray.
- Return the tart to the freezer to harden. This way, when glazing with the egg wash, the tart doesn't lose its shape.
- After the egg wash, fill each piece of cut-out pastry with the rolled pineapple jam filling. Lightly shape the pineapple jam so that it sits nicely in the pastry, and the tarts look uniform.
- Bake in preheated oven at 180°C for at least 20 minutes. If you want a more golden look to the tarts, reduce the temperature to 170°C and continue to bake for another 5 minutes or until you achieve the colour you want. Then remove the tray and allow the tarts to cool before storing in air-tight containers.
|I use a punch mould.|
|After freezing the tarts, I apply an egg wash. By the time the tarts are glazed, the pastry is softened by the heat.|
|After putting the pineapple jam balls on the glazed tarts, it's ready to go into the oven.|
|Ta-da! Time to cool down and store in airtight boxes.|
|But beware of Knaves of Hearts, who will steal your tarts! ;)|
Have a blessed year of baking and cooking and sharing your bounties with your family and loved ones! :)