In the Chinese communities of Singapore and Malaysia, the pineapple tart is the ultimate Chinese New Year dessert. The word "pineapple" in the Hokkien dialect resembles the word for prosperity, so eating the pineapple tarts is said to help bring luck and money in the coming year. I guess I should be eating more then! Pineapple tarts now come in a variety of shapes and sizes such as “open-faced” flower shape tarts (the jam is exposed), rolled like logs, mini tangerine and even tarts that are shaped like pineapples. A good pineapple tart should have an ultra-flaky dough which crumbles into buttery powder in your mouth. The pineapple jam should still have a bit of fibre to it, soft, not overly sweet and flavored with spices - cinnamon, star anise and cloves.
This is my first attempt at making this festive cookie. Initially I tried making the “open-faced” tart but the dough kept sticking to the cutter and I ended up having to ply it from the mould. After a few attempts at it, I gave up completely. It was taking up too much time. I brought some of the tarts to my workplace and passed it around. I had really good feedback on the pastry and guess what, I ended up taking orders from my colleagues. So over the last two weekends, my time was taken up baking pineapple tarts and I still have a bit more of baking to day over the next few days.
Ingredients for the Pastry:
220g unsalted butter, at room temperature
375g all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
50g confectioners' sugar/icing sugar (I reduced my icing sugar to 45g)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg yolk, for egg wash
Ingredients for the Pineapple Jam:
250 grammes granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
a dash of cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Method for the Jam:
1) Skin pineapple and scrape out the flesh. Drain flesh on a sieve for 10 minutes to obtain 1½ cup of juice.
2) Place the scraped pineapple flesh in a non-stick pan and add granulated sugar, pineapple juice, lemon juice, cloves and cinnamon. Place pan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally for about 1½ hour until pineapple jam is sticky and can easily be rolled into a ball. Set aside to cool.
Method for the Pastry:
1) Sieve all purpose flour, corn flour, salt and icing sugar into a medium bowl.
2) Beat butter in a mixer until it turns light in color and fluffy.
3) Add in egg yolks until well combined. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over-mix as it will result in a dry pastry.
To assemble the Tarts:
1) Roll pineapple filling into small individual rounds. Turn dough out and roll into small rounds. Flatten the rounds and use it to cover the prepared filling. You can either roll it back into a ball to resemble mini tangerine oranges. Alternatively roll it back into a round and shape it as a small log. Using a fork, indent the log to get a pattern.
2) Brush the unbaked rolls with egg wash. For the mini tangerine dough, stick a clove in the middle to resemble the stalk of the tangerine.
3) Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180ºC for 10 to 15 minutes (I baked mine for 13 minutes) or till lightly brown.