Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pineapple Tart Recipe

I recently received this really thoughtful present on my 21st about a month ago from one of the most awesome couples I know, A & L. It's basically a simple Moleskin notebook. Always wanted to own a really nice notebook but could never think of what to write in it.

Until now, when they actually gave me the Moleskin as a present. But more than that, a brilliant idea, that is to start writing down some of my favourite recipes to cook. Cause, who knows? Maybe in 20 years time, I may actually have a really precious and treasured collection by then.

But seriously, as far-fetched as it may sound for me to say this, there's just so many of Mum's traditional, homecooked, Chinese recipes that I wanna quickly learn while I still have the chance. Cause I've always thought that it'd be really good if I could remake the same food that Mum used to make for me growing up for my kids in the future.

Otherwise, it'd be really sad if they all just ended with me. Then my kids will grow up so Westernised and not know real Chinese food. And... And... What if one day they actually prefer chips over rice, ketchup over soy sauce, and the list goes on (GASP!!). Anyhoo, you get my drift.

But yeah, this is a really great idea and I'm so excited about it. It's like I'm beginning a new culinary journey, on a quest to discover the most simple, delicious and more importantly, heart-warming comfort food I can find.

And I want to make sure it's recipes that have been tried and tested so many times that I am fully confident with to share. So that other beginner cooks (like me) who reads it, can learn to make simple and delicious food (hopefully in their first attempt) for all their loved ones. That's the dream anyway... Not sure if it'll happen but here goes.

So, yeah. Have already got 2 recipes in so far (among a couple that needs to be tested one last time). Plan to share more recipes on this blog from now on, so stay tuned!

Now, I want to talk to you about this Pineapple Tart Recipe. Which, to me, is the epitome of all Chinese New Year snacks. You see it in almost every Chinese home during the festive season.

Though as ironic as it may sound, I personally have never been a huge fan of this CNY treat. Until now. Maybe it's cause I never really had a sweet tooth anyway. I like tasty, savoury dishes. Seriously, a nice slab of steak over a slice of cake for me any day. But decided to give this recipe a go after seeing how simple it actually is to make.

Besides that, most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry already (love these kinda recipes, don't you?!) maybe with the exception of Pineapples and butter. But seriously, that's it.

And boy oh boy was I friggin' happy with the result or what. And on first attempt, too! I'm not biased when I say this, but it really was the BEST Pineapple Tarts I have ever tasted. Even better than all the homemade ones I've tasted in the past.

I've made it 3 times already and every one who ate it can agree. It's so addictive! But honestly, I accept no credit at all for such praises cause it really is the simplicity and authenticity of the recipe, not me.

Pastry was incredibly crumbly and rich in (good quality) butter. Jam, tasted really natural and more importantly, was still moist even after being baked. This was a big plus because I did not like how the jam in these tarts that you normally eat tend to be so hard and sticky that it gets stuck to the back of your teeth. Not for this recipe. Nossireee.

Anyway, do let me know how you go when you attempt it for your loved ones. Hopefully it'll be a huge hit as it was for me.


Pineapple Tart Recipe
(makes about 92 cookies)

Pineapple Jam Filling:
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia

- 500g pineapple flesh (approximately 1 large pineapple)
- 5 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp corn starch (+ 1 tsp water)

1. Blend pineapples until mushy
2. Heat over medium/low pan until all liquid evaporated (and until golden brown if possible), stirring occasionally. Approximately 20 minutes
3. Add sugar. Stir
4. Add corn starch solution. Stir
5. Remove from stove. Chill in fridge when cool

Pastry Recipe:
Adapted from The Little Teochew

- 380g plain flour
- 40g corn starch
- 1/4 tbsp salt
- 280g butter (cubed but cold!)
- 6 tbsp icing/caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks (beaten)
- 3 tbsp cold (or iced) water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk (beaten, for glaze)

1. Pre-heat oven to 170 °C
2. Sieve flours, salt and sugar together. Mix evenly
3. Use forks, press cold butter into mixture until becomes fine, yellow and buttery crumbs
4. Beat yolks, water, vanilla extract together and pour into mixture
5. Use hands, knead into dough
6. Chill in fridge for 15 minutes
7. Roll out dough until approximately 1/2 cm
8. Use cookie cutter to cut them out
9. Press the middle with fingers to make slight depression
10. Use fingers to glaze pastry
11. Put small teaspoon of jam into centre of each cookie. Gently press surface to mould into a consistent shape
12. Bake at 170 °C for 35 minutes (or until glaze golden brown) *
13. Allow to cool on wire rack before keeping in air-tight container

*: Best indication of how long to bake them for, since every one's ovens are entirely different. Some too hot, some too cold.


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