What is Chinese New Year or any festive occasion without pineapple tarts ? I love these little very-bad-for-you-once-in-while calorie laden devils – however, again, what is life without pineapple tarts? My recipe for the pineapple jam gives you a juicer and intense flavour. Some people say, the jam is the most important ingredient for a good pineapple tart. I beg to differ – the pastry makes the difference. My grandmother used to make pineapple tarts with Q.B.B. ghee and bake the tarts in charcoal fired oven. My mother used to make her pineapple tart pastry base with a mixture of Q.B.B. ghee and butter. I make my version with Q.B.B. ghee and find my recipe as good as my grandmother. She learnt how to make pineapple tarts from “Nonya” the Peranakan lady who was our landlord years ago.
TO MAKE THE PINEAPPLE JAM
2 medium pineapples peeled and quartered and centre hard stem discarded
180 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pandan leaves, tied into a knot (optional)
1. Grate pineapple pieces with a fine grater.
2. Place grated pineapple on a muslin cloth and squeeze out as much of the juice as possible.
3. Place pineapple pulp and the rest of the ingredients into a non stick pan and cook over gentle heat, stirring occasionally until the pineapple jam becomes thick and golden colour. Discard pandan leaves.
4. Leave to cool thoroughly before rolling the jam into small balls of about 1 cm diameter.
TO MAKE THE PASTRY
200 g Q.B.B. ghee
25 g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
350 g plain flour
1. Cream Q.B.B. ghee, sugar, egg yolks and salt with a wooden spoon, until creamy.
2. Fold in sifted flour and mix well to combine. The dough will be a sticky slightly ‘wet’.
3. Place it in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 180 C. Line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper or greased baking paper.
5. Roll out pastry to about 0.75 cm thick.
6. Cut out the pastry using a pineapple tart cutter.
7. Place on a lightly greased baking tray.
8. Place prepared balls of pineapple jam in the hollow of the cut pastries.
9. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
10. Place tarts on wire rack to cool thoroughly before storing.