Last week, I thought I’d get working on my list of must-have, home-made, festive Chinese New Year goodies (and at the same time, pen a series of posts on said goodies), starting with a durian Indonesian layer cake (durian lapis).
Next up, are these fragrant, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth pineapple tarts. Not only are these home-made, but also completely hand-made, using freshly prepared pineapple paste and pastry dough. The recipe is one handed down to me by a very good friend – the method is traditional, yet amazingly simple, and makes wonderfully delicious pineapple tarts.
I must admit that I’m just a little greedy though – I’m sorry, but when it comes to pineapple tarts, I can’t help myself.
I don’t like them small, skinny, or in one-mouthful portions. Uh uh.. no cute or dainty little tarts on my plate – on the contrary, the chunkier, the better, the more to devour, and to savour.
But that’s just how I enjoy them, and obviously, with home-made pineapple tarts, you can make them as small or as big as you like, and in whatever shape you fancy – balls, mini sausages, rolls, open-faced tarts, etc. Really, you can get as creative as you like!
These home-made, hand-made pineapple tarts do make for quite a bit of work, but for some reason, I’ve always found baking these goodies to be highly therapeutic and enjoyable.
What makes me go through all the effort every year is how immensely satisfying it is to see family and friends appreciate and savour them .
When making these tarts, I have found it easiest to spread the tasks over 2 days, such as a weekend, (or even 3 days, if you only have time in the evenings after work).
I usually prepare and cook the pineapple paste in one afternoon, at least a day or two ahead of baking day. Then, over a couple of hours on a weekend, I’ll prepare the pastry dough, and then fill, shape, and bake the tarts.
By the way, you don’t need to make home-made pineapple paste if you don’t fancy cutting, grating and cooking for hours in your kitchen, although I can almost guarantee you, that once you’ve had a taste of home-made pineapple jam-filled tarts, you’re not likely to ever have quite the same appreciation for commercially produced ones.
If using ready-made commercial pineapple paste, just follow the recipe for preparing the pastry dough, then roll out, fill and shape as desired. Enjoy!
PINEAPPLE PASTE (RECIPE & METHOD)
PASTRY DOUGH (RECIPE & METHOD)
FILLING, SHAPING & BAKING
Estimated Time: 2 hours
(1). Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F). Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
(2). Break the chilled dough into half, returning the other half to the refrigerator to keep chilled until needed. Roll out the dough, between sheets of baking paper, into a flat sheet, about 2 to 3-mm in thickness.
(3). Using a 6-cm round cutter, cut individual dough pieces. Place the pineapple filling in the centre, seal the edges, and shape as desired into round or oval-shaped tarts. Using a small pair of food scissors, make v-shaped slits in rows, on the top of the tart (optional). Place tarts, slightly apart, on the prepared baking tray. Brush the tops and sides lightly with egg wash.
(4). Bake in the lower half of the oven for 15 mins at 180 deg C (350 deg F), then lower oven temperature to 150 deg C (300 deg F) and bake for another 10 to 15 mins, or until tarts turn golden brown. Transfer tarts to a cooling rack. Increase oven temperature to 180 deg C (350 deg F) for baking the next batch of tarts. Repeat the process until all the pastry dough and/or fillings are used up.
(5). When the pineapple tarts have cooled completely, stack neatly into air-tight containers, which can be sealed (if preferred) with scotch tape around the lid, to keep air out. They keep well in sealed containers, in a cool and dry place, for up to 2 weeks.