I started making pineapple tarts about 2 years ago. Seriously, pineapple tart making is utterly labour-intensive and time-consuming. Nevertheless, it is indeed a labour of love. For those who have attempted making this Nyonya staple, you should know what I mean!
The work includes cutting the pineapples, removing all the eyes (gosh, I hate this the most), grating the fruits, slow-cooking it under low heat until it turns jammy (well, this itself takes about 1-2 hours), preparing the dough, assembling everything and finally baking the tarts. I usually spend about 3-4 hours just on the assembling part and just to make a batch consisting of a mere 50 bite-sized pieces.
Well, I have to say that the whole family: my wife, my kids, including my in-laws really have a weakness for pineapple tarts. However, as a matter of fact, not only that the price of a box (of tarts) sold outside is escalating like nobody's business but getting one that is nice and authentic is indeed hard to come by nowadays. Hence, I feel it is high time that I get my hands dirty and learn to make my own. Well, before getting down to business, I did my homework ie doing lots of reading from the net including seeking advice from my septuagenarian aunt (I affectionately call her Tuah Ee) whom we, among the relatives recognize her as the sifu of pineapple tart. So, this could be the reason why when I made my very first batch of tarts, I did not encounter much hiccups and the outcome was fairly good and far from being disastrous. I have made pineapple tarts for umpteen times and am now still fine-tuning it.
Basically, there are two types of pineapple tarts ie the hard crispy type and the soft melt-in-the mouth type, the latter being more preferable. Actually, it all boils down to the pastry. Personally, I prefer the hard crispy pastry. I do not like it too hard though but most importantly, the pastry must be crissppy. When you make a cross section to the tart, you can see layers forming the pastry. This is what I mean......
Well, it all depends on the butter and the duration of baking. To get this result, you must use the rub-in method. While rubbing the butter with flour, it is important that you do not allow chance for the butter to melt. That is the reason you need to work using your finger tips (as this is the coolest part of the hand) and everything needs to be done fast. Secondly, you must never knead the dough. Next, to make the pastry crispier, you just need to bake the pastry a little longer (about 5-10 minutes longer).
If you like the crispy type, nah....here you go :
(this yields about 50 pcs depending on how thick is your pastry and the size of your pastry cutter)
A) For the pineapple jam:
- 500g grated or chopped pineapple flesh (I always chopped)
- 125g caster sugar
- 125g rock sugar
- 5 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
1. In a heavy based saucepan, place the grated pineapple and spices and stir
to dry the pineapple before adding the sugar.
2. Once the sugar is added, reduce heat to low and stir regularly for about
1 hour or until pineapple jam is relative dry. (remember that when you
bake the tarts, the jam will further dry out)
3. Make sure you stir it frequently as the bottom will burn easily. Once it's
thick and jammy, take it off the heat, remove the spices and allow to cool
4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. This makes it easier for us to
shape it into balls later.
B) For the pastry:
- 500g plain flour
- 300g unsalted butter (slightly softened)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk (for brushing over pastry to create golden hue)
1. With your fingertips, rub together the flour and butter until it resembles
2. Add the egg and gently coax all the crumb until it binds together.
3. Bring it together and shape it into a disc (remember, DO NOT knead)
4. Wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
C) The Assembling Process:
1. Pre-roll the pineapple jam into small balls.
2. Roll out the pastry dough to desired thickness. Cut out dough using cutter.
Arrange neatly onto the baking tray.
3. Once you have arranged the tart shells on your tray, pop them into the
pre-heated oven. Bake at 175 degree Celsius for aboiut 10 minutes or until
the shells are about to turn brown. Note that at this point, the tart shells will
4. Take out from the oven and glaze the rims with egg wash.
5. Place the pre-rolled pineapple jam balls onto the centre of each tart shell.
6. Make a criss-cross pattern on the jam. Then, glaze the patterns.
7. Pop into the oven for the 2nd time. Bake for another 10 minutes or until
the tarts turn golden brown.