Why do I call it an experiment?
Because dear me chose to attempt an age old CNY classic having never made a tart from scratch, and on my own before. (if it fails my mum will say geh2 kiang3). For a first attempt, I must say…it was lip-smackingly yummy! I followed Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan’s recipe from her book, A Tiger in the Kitchen for this version. She in turn, got the recipe from her Tanglin Ah-mah.
The next best thing to red packets during CNY would have to be these ochre babies of pineapple calorie bombs. YUM.
Nevermind the tedious stirring of pineapple jam to make sure it doesn’t burn over the stove (i make it sound difficult but its really quite simple since my induction stove renders all things equally heated! Hoorah!)
The most tedious part would have to be cutting the pineapple itself then. blending it and squishing the pulp dry was horrendously messy, not to mention a nightmare when it came to washing up.
The pastry was easy enough, so much so that I could still watch SYTYCD (ok it’s “so you think you can dance” if you haven’t already watched it before – awesome display of UK’s finest dancers I must say) while kneading and shaping. So all that’s left is really just using the tart mould for the pretty patterned tarts and popping it in the oven for 20 minutes. Viola!
Pineapple Tarts adapted from a recipe by Chery Lu-Lien Tan
Yields about 25 tarts
For the jam:
at least 150 grams sugar (depending on desired sweetness)
2 pandan leaves* knotted together
1/2 cinnamon stick
- Peel the pineapples, dig out the eyes and chop into chunks. Place pineapple in blender and process till slightly pulpy. Run the pulp through a seive and *squeeze it as dry as possible. Set the juice aside to add to the jam if it becomes too dry while cooking later. (alternatively, run the chunks through a juicer if you have 1 and it’ll rid you of much washing up).
- Place the pulp in a large wok or pot with a large surface area and heat on the stove. Add the knotted pandan leaves and cinnamon stick. If it becomes too dry, add the juice until the mixture has the consistency of porridge or grits; Bring to a boil and keep it there for a total of three hours, stirring often. Halfway through, taste the jam, and add the sugar until it is as sweet as you desire. (Note: The amount of sugar needed will vary greatly depending on how ripe the pineapples are.)
- The jam is done when the pineapple mixture has changed color from bright yellow to brownish ochre and most of the liquid has evaporated, leaving a dense but moist jam.
* according to my own ah-mah, squeezing the pulp dry is extremely important, otherwise, your tarts might become mouldy in less than 3 days. To test it out, I kept 1 last tart in an air-tight container just to see how long it’ll last. It was good for a week – until I couldn’t resist it and of course, ate it.
For the pastry:
95 grams salted butter at room temperature
150 grams flour
1 egg yolk, plus 1 yolk for brushing onto pastry (i omitted this step but do it if you want your tarts glistening for CNY)
- With a mixer on low speed, combine the butter, flour and four egg yolks, mixing for 3 to 5 minutes. (my dough became a tad too pliable due to SG’s hot weather, if so, refrigerate your dough for 30min before rolling it out)
- Roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thick and start cutting out the tarts with a tart press. Place cookie base out onto greased baking sheets.
- Beat the remaining egg yolk with ½ teaspoon of water. Brush the rim of each tart generously. Take a scant teaspoon of pineapple jam (more or less, as desired) and form a ball, then press into the hollow of each tart. Pat the sides of the jam to create a small dome.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees, until golden brown. Remove cookies from sheets and cool on a rack.