January 6, 2011

Pineapple Tarts

This time of the year is my favorite time of the year although I get so busy cooking up a storm for the holidays! My family are my guinea pigs as I would just simply cook whatever takes my fancy and they would feedback on my food. Most of the time, I m just too busy working to be able to cook but my company enforces two weeks closure at the end of each year, hence I get to cook my heart out...  :D

My luscious babies.. hehehe

I have made tons of cookies for the coming Chinese New Year holidays before except Pineapple Tarts. This is something I love but am just to lazy to go through the hassle of the whole ordeal to churn out these magnificient cookie (or tart, whatever takes your fancy). They are quite expensive on the market as its quite tedious to make them from scratch (unless you are cheating and buying pre-made pineapple jam!).

Finally, I have attempted these babies because a friend of mine asked if I could teach her to make them. Aha! Finally the push that inspired me to attempt them because I know I would have assistance.. hehehe :0)

We planned and cooked the pineapple jam few days in advance to cut down the process. This also helps the jam to mature and mellow beautifully. What I do love about homemade is that you can control the sweetness and flavour. Our pineapple jam was more towards the sourish rather than sweet and with a hint of cinnamon. I took the jam recipe from Famous Cuisine magazine and skin from Flavours magazine and tweaked it a little but you can also take it from other cookbooks as the recipe is very similiar except for the taste (sweetness) and flavour (spices).

The recipe is posted at the end of this. For the skin of the pineapple pastry, I simply used more egg yolks for that golden colour than the whole eggs. I also added some milk powder to give it a hint of a milky fragrance.

 Fresh out of the oven!

Result was a very successful pineapple tart considering it is my first time making it! It was an immensed satisfaction when the golden tarts were fresh out of the oven. We couldn't help but devoured several once the heat cooled off a bit.

Cooling off..

Crumbly, milky and heavenly golden hue, the skin of the tarts were really luscious and melt-in-your-mouth (I think the egg yolks makes a super difference in this case). When we sank our teeth into this, you can feel the skin melt away to unveiled a moist and perfumed pineapple jam bursting softly and sweetly.

All packed up..

To ensure that these keep, please make sure to fry up the jam till its very dry and dark golden brown. Keep the jam in the fridge till you are ready to make the tarts. Our tarts didn't last very long cos our family masticated all the tarts before I could even see how long these will last!  lol...

I m already making plans to make more of these babies during the weekend as I have already received some orders for these.. :)

Hope you enjoy this recipe of mine. Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar or spices in the jam to suit your tastebuds.

Pineapple Jam

1kg        fresh pineapple flesh, peeled and grated or blended finely
200g      caster sugar
1 pc       cinnamon stick
4 blades pandanus leaf, knotted

Cook the pineapple mixture with its juices on high heat in a non-stick frying pan till it boils.
Add in the pandanus leaf and cinnamon and lower the heat to medium.
Keep stirring till it is slightly dry.
Add in sugar and continue stirring over medium heat till sugar is well dissolved.
Stir fry till pineapply mixture turns into a paste and is golden in colour.
Remove from heat and remove the pandanus leaf and cinnamon.
Set aside the jam filling to cool.
Keep in fridge if not used on the same day.

Pineapple Tarts

1 recipe of pineapple jam, shaped into small oblongs
1 egg, beaten for egg wash

250g      butter, soften at room temperature
50g        icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp   salt
2           egg yolks (Grade A)
350g      plain flour, sifted
50g        corn flour, sifted
10g        full cream milk powder

Method for Pastry
In a mixing bowl, beat butter, icing sugar and salt for about 2 mins on high speed.
Add egg yolks one at a time and beat till mixed.
Add in both sifted flours, milk powder and mix on slow speed till it forms a soft dough.
Do not over mix the dough as the pastry will not be crumbly and soft.
Cover dough with team towel as you work in small batches to prevent drying.
Should the dough turn dry, add in a little splash of cold water and knead till soft again.
Depending on what shape you want for the tarts, use the mold to shape out the skin.
I used a "Nastar" mold which is similiar to a piping cone. This is available at bakery stores.
Push the dough through the speical Nastar cutter till you get strips of about 5-6 cm with the jagged surface facing down.
Place one pineapple jam on the smooth surface of each strip and gently roll up to seal the jam.
Place tarts on a lined or greased tray and brush top gently with egg wash.
Bake in preheated oven at 180C for about 20 minutes, turning the tray during half time for even baking.
Cool before storing.

As the Hokkiens say it.. Ong Lai, Ong Lai,... means pineapple (in Hokkien dialect). It also means that prosperity will come.. kakaka.. I sure hope so!!  :D

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