Baking pineapple tarts is a very laborious affair and it needs alot of patience and time. But I just couldn't help it. Shop-bought ones are either no good, or over-priced.Trust-worthy quality pineapple tarts are not easy to find. I might as well bake it then.
Max had been living with shop-bought pineapple tarts for the past 29 years. He has no complaint and he eat what his mom fed him. But after I started baking, I'm surprised to hear from him how precise he wants his pineapple tart to taste! He wanted buttery and melt-in-the-mouth pastry with some tang on the pineapple jam. For me, my personal requirement is flaky and NO to milky taste. So, I work based on that.
I did googled some recipes and flip some recipe books. I skipped those that uses milk or milk powder. I skipped those that ask for margarine or shortening. I tried baking using 3 to 4 recipes for the past three years. And I finally convinced and settled down with The Little Teochew's recipe, because I believe simplicity could deliver the best.
I baked 3 batches of pineapple tart last year. Used Lurpak and President butter for the first two batches. It was good. But my MIL complaint that the buttery taste is not what she's looking for. She said "That's not local taste!"
.... She makes my face turned green.
I had a sleepless night, thinking what she meant by local taste. And for the 3rd batch, I used SCS butter, as this is widely used especially for Chinese New Year baking. And the result, she says "This is local taste lah!".... I guessed it right! This is the buttery taste that she's looking for!
..... Duh!!! I keep calm and continue my baking. Hahaha...
This year, I used SCS for my pineapple tarts as well. And for the pineapple jam, I got myself some Morris pineapple, followed Wendy's home-made pineapple jam recipe and cook up a big batch from scratch.
Ingredients (for Pineapple Jam)
(Source : Wendyinkk)
- 2 large Morris Pineapple
- 400g Sugar
- 1 small stick of Cinnamon
- some lemon juice (optional, if you prefer more sourish taste)
Method (for Pineapple Jam)
- Peel the pineapple, cleaned, cut into large chunk, included the core.
- Put half the pineapple chunks into a blender, add 1/3 water and blitz away. Pour 80% of the blended pineapple into a large pan or wok that has large evaporation surface.
- With the remaining blended pineapple in the blender, add the rest of the pineapple chunks into the blender and blitz away. Always leave some blended liquid on the blender, so that you don't have to add water for the next blending process.
- Cook pineapple paste with the cinnamon stick under medium heat until it turned pasty, like oatmeal kind of thickness. Stir it occasionally.
- Add sugar and stir. The pineapple paste will turn watery when sugars are added. Stir once a while.
- Increase the heat to high. Don’t stir and let the base take on some color. It will caramelize the jam. Stir once a while to check on the color. Stop when it almost reaches your preferred color. Do take note that some pans will continue to caramelize even when the heat is off.
- Do take note that the jam will thicken further upon cooling. It is better to undercook the jam rather than overcook it. You can cool the jam and see the texture. If it is too wet, you can always cook it again to achieve dry texture.
- Once jam is kept in the fridge for a day, pre-roll pineapple jam into balls the night before your baking day.
Note : You can prepare this way ahead. I did mine more than a week beforehand. Air-tight sealed and keep it well in the fridge. It's absolutely fine with.
Ingredients (for Pastry)
(Source : The Little Teochew, with modification)
- 400g Plain Flour
- 50g Corn Flour
- 1/2 tsp Fine Salt
- 280g Cold, Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes.
- 3 Egg Yolks, beaten
- 3 tbsp Ice-Cold Water
- 6 tbsp Icing Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- For the pastry glaze, mix 1 Egg Yolk + 1 tbsp Water.
Note : If you have lard at home, do add some. I did two batches of pastry. One using 280g Butter (follow recipe) for giveaway purpose. While the other batch that I want to keep it for own consumption, I used 250g butter + 30g lard oil. The result is seriously awesome! So, I'd highly encourage you guys to be more courageous and go ahead to do some experiment to find the right Oomph! taste for yourself :)
Method (for Pastry)
- Cut butter into small cubes. Put it back to the fridge. Take the butter cubes out when you are ready to use it.
- Sift flour, icing sugar and salt together. Mix well. I keep mine in the fridge to keep my flour cold. The weather in Singapore is hot. I can't help it.
- Using the pointed ends of a fork, rub the cubed cold butter into the flour until it looks like fine bread crumbs. If necessary, use fingertips to continue rubbing lightly on the bigger pieces of butter into finer pieces.
- Beat together egg yolks, cold water and vanilla extract (and lard oil if you are using it). Add it into the butter flour mixture. Using finger tips, gently coax all the crumbs into one large dough ball. Do not knead the dough. As long as the crumbs comes together, you should stop working.
- Divide dough into two balls. Wrap the dough using clingwrap, chill in the fridge for 10mins.
Note : The reason for dividing the dough into two balls is because the dough is very buttery and oily. It would be ideal to use a smaller portion at a time and keep the rest covered in the fridge, otherwise, the dough will ooze oil.
- Take one dough ball out of the fridge, roll out to desired thickness. Cut out dough using tart cutter. Arrange neatly onto baking tray, with at least 1.5cm apart.
- Glaze the tart shells (the entire tart pastry surface, not just the rims). Bake it at 175 oC for 5mins.
- Take the tart shells out of the oven, glaze the tart shells one more time (but just the rims for this time). Place pre-rolled pineapple jam balls onto the centre of each tart shells.
- Bake the pineapple tart for another 15mins, or until the tart pastry looked golden brown.
My butter is cold, and my flour is cold too. The task here is to coat the butter crumbs in flour, while doing your best to prevent the butter from melting. If your kitchen is air-conditioned, that would be the best! You might find it messy if you are doing this for the first time. But once you have the hang of it, it will be fine.
I have pastry cutter to do the work, so, it is much easier compared to fork.
If you made shortbread pastry before, you will know how this should go about. Handling the dough is the key. If you overworked the dough, you will ruin everything. You have to be gentle to the dough, so as to achieve wonderful buttery, flaky texture.
.... my camera sucks. It doesn't bring out the color of the buttery dough. Sigh!
Okay. Move on.
You can choose not to glaze the tart. But I'd highly recommend you to do that. Because glazing the tart will makes the tart sturdier during baking. And glazing gives you a nicer orange-y festive looking tart too. Btw, Max says tarts without glaze looked like under-cooked tart. Hahaha... He and his very own logic.
Accomplishment! Alot of work, it sucks my energy dry. But definitely worth it.
Always remember that good food either comes with a price tag or it takes patience and effort to make it right. You can choose to buy shop-bought pineapple jam if you are not picky about it. It definitely save you alot of work. But if you are particular with that, like me, be prepared to do it from scratch. Cooking the pineapple jam can be quite strenuous.
So, if you wanna make some good pineapple tarts, you don't expect it to be easy. That's the simple rule. And no, my tart doesn't look like that on my 1st attempt 3 years back. Practice makes perfect. I need more of that for sure.
Will I make it again? Yes! This is indeed melt-in-your-mouth pastry and it taste really awesome!
I hope you like it! And I have to thank to the fellow ladies who shared the recipe and tips :)