Tomorrow we celebrate the Chinese New Year: 新年快乐! This is going to be the Year of the Horse… I have read that people born in the Year of the Horse are clever, kind and energetic… they sometimes talk too much, but are cheerful, talented and love to be in the centre of a crowd. 2014 is the year of the Wooden Horse, so babies born in the next few months will be strong and stable and will be good at making decisions. Sounds like a good year to be born in! As I live in a city with a consistent Chinese and South East Asian community, I too like to celebrate this special day. So today, in honour of such a festive occasion, I thought I’d share a festive recipe, very popular in places like Malaysia and Singapore, where Chinese New Year is celebrated too: Pineapple Tarts! They can be cookies with a dollop of pineapple jam in the middle, or rolls filled with jam, like the ones I made. I had never made these before and I liked the crumbly pastry that resembles shortbread. My filling was a bit tougher than I expected and I suspect it is because I cooked a bit too long, so keep an eye out and don’t make the filling too dry or it will harden when it cools down! Don’t they look lovely?? Enjoy and Happy Chinese New Year / 新年快乐 everyone!
- 3 baby pineapples (or 2 cans of shredded pineapples – 440 gms – 15 oz.)
- 200 gms – 1 cup sugar
- 1 clove
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 150 gms – 5.3 oz. liquid glucose
- 2 tbsp flour
- Slice and grate the pineapples till fine. You can also use a food processor to grate them, or use shredded canned pineapples.
- Strain the grated pineapple.
- Put it in a saucepan and let it simmer until the juice has dried up. Add the sugar, star anise, cinnamon stick and clove.
- Let the sugar melt and stir until until the pineapple has thickened like a jam.
- Add the liquid glucose and stir.
- Add the flour and continue to stir until the filling has thickened. It has to be like a thick jam, but do not over cook it or your filling will become as hard as a rock! Keep in mind that the jam will thicken further after cooling. If you are unsure, test it... you can always put it back on the fire and thicken it, but you won’t be able to soften it if it is too dry!
- Let it cool down and shape into small elongated balls and keep them aside.
- Sift together the flour and corn flour and keep them aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer.
- Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, until well combined.
- Add vanilla essence and salt and whisk until fluffy.
- Fold in the sifted dry ingredients (flour & corn flour) and mix to form a dough. It should have a light crumbly shortbread texture.
- Roll a tablespoon of dough into a 7 cm – 2.75 inch long rope in your palm, then gently press it down with your index finger to flatten the dough into an oblong shape (around 0.5 cm – 0.2 inch thick and 3-4 cm – 1.5 inch wide).
- Put the rolled-out pineapple jam ball at the edge of the strip and roll the dough on it to form a small elongated roll.
- Put the roll on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Repeat until you finish all the dough and jam.
- Use a fork and draw lines on the top of the tarts.
- Brush the rolls with beaten egg yolk.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C – 355°F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let the tarts cool down on a wire rack before storing them in an airtight jar.
NOTE: In Australia you can find liquid Glucose in the baking section of supermarkets. If you can’t find it in your supermarket, you can order it online: Glucose 8.5 Ounces – Wilton
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