Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Self imposed challenge - Pineapple Tarts!

This post was originally planned to be published during the Chinese New Year season. Ah well, better late than never. Haha!

Here's my crazy self- imposed challenge in making pineapple tarts from scratch. All in all I've made 3 batches of pineapple jam and tried 4 pastry recipes for the tarts! Talk about madness!



Cooking my first ever batch of pineapple jam, it wasn't as hard as I imagined it to be and I enjoyed inhaling the heady aroma of spices (cloves & cinnamon) and sweet pineapple lingering throughout the house. I've got to say, the hardest part in making homemade pineapple jam was peeling the thick skin and digging out the eyes from the pineapples, more laborious than grating and cooking itself! 



I'm very pleased with the final outcome of my pineapple jam. Not too bad for a first timer eh? Dry and sticky enough for rolling into balls and fibrous enough like how traditional pineapple jams should be.  It was also not too sweet with some pineapple tang just the way I like it. This pineapple jam recipe adapted from 'Food-4-Tots' is a keeper! 


Pineapple Jam

Ingredients:

2 half-ripe pineapples, grated
200g granulated sugar (adjust according to your preference)
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick (5 cm long)
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method:
  1. Skin pineapples and remove the “eyes”. Cut each pineapple into quarters lengthwise.
  2. Grate the pineapples until the core (the tough centre). Discard the core.
  3. Cook the grated pineapples, half portion only of the sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks and lemon juice in a large heavy bottom pot under moderate heat until it begins to boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally.
  5. When the mixture start to look almost dry, reduce the heat to low. Add the remaining sugar bit by bit until the desired sweetness is achieved. Keep stirring until the mixture is sticky and caramelized with a golden-hue. This will take about 1 hour or more (or less if you use a very wide pot).
  6. Remove cloves and cinnamon stick. Set aside to cool. Store in an air-tight container.


Here's my stash of baking tools all ready for making the pineapple tart pastry. I couldn't decide which type of pineapple tarts to make - the open faced ones or the rolled ones or the enclosed covered ones. In the end, I made all 3 types! Haha!



The rolled type also known as Nastar. I used Agnes Chang's recipe. The pineapple rolls somehow deformed after baking (though they looked pretty fine because I took pictures of the better looking side!). Tastewise the pastry was very short and melt-in-the-mouth but was bland eventhough I used salted butter and it has a slight floury taste which bugged me. 

Agnes Chang's Pineapple Tart Pastry Recipe
(Taken from her book, "Baking Made Easy")

Ingredients:

250 g unsalted butter (i used salted butter)
50 g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
360 g plain flour
2 tbs custard powder
1/4 tsp salt (omitted this)

Method:
  1. Preheat oven at 160°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Cream butter and icing sugar until light.
  3. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time.
  4. Add in salt and beat until fluffy.
  5. Fold in sifted ingredients in bathches and mix into a firm dough.
  6. Leave aside for 30 minutes.
  7. Put the dough into a pineapple roll pastry press/mould, and then press out into a strip of 5cm length.
  8. Place pineapple filing at one end and roll up the pastry, as in a Swiss roll, enough to enclose the jam. Do not overlap the pastry. Cut off the excess pastry.
  9. Put the rolls on the baking tray. Brush with egg wash.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes and turn the baking tray 180 ° and continue to bake for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Leave to cool before storing.



I made the enclosed type using this rich pastry recipe which calls for cream AND cream cheese from 'Table for 2 or More' here.   The inclusion of cream indeed gave a very fragrant dairy aroma and the cream cheese though not so prominent gave the pastry some edge which was really delicious and the pastry was very very tender. I couldn't stop myself from eating the remnants of raw dough stuck to my mixer paddle. It was so good. Handling the dough was a nightmare though. It was really really soft and took a lot of time, and if handled too much it oozes oil; this knocks off some brownie points for this recipe.  I've also added 1/4 teaspoon salt for more flavour. I'd suggest chilling the pastry dough in the fridge and only take out a portion at a time when shaping the tarts.



The open faced tarts. Recipe taken from 'Greg & Nee' here. This is the simplest pastry recipe amongst all. The result was very short & melt in the mouth fresh out of the oven but once cooled down and kept overnight it wasn't so.



These are made from using Amy Beh's recipe copied from 'My Culinary Journal' here. This recipe is meant for the rolled type (Nastar) but I wanted to experiment to see whether it can be used for open-faced tarts. The dough was very soft and it must be chilled to firm up before rolling between 2 sheets of clingfilm or wax paper. Quick hands were indeed required as the dough softens quickly once rolled out!


4 comments:

  1. Your pineapple jam is more than "not bad". It looks just like the ones I bought from the store! Gotta try and make some next year =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow how many type of pineapple base you made in a day... amazing

    Will definitely try baking these during CNY

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Joshi, i'm no superwoman! LOL! These tarts were made over a span of 2 weeks :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi..can u tell me where I can buy the tall silver metal tool?? thx

    ReplyDelete

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