Pineapple tarts are little short crust pastry tarts with home made pineapple jam. In Malaysia, these are made for special ocassions like Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Hari Raya (Eid). Families used to make it but in this age of “I don’t know how she does it”, we tend to buy them from the many cottage industry vendors in town.
I made these for Vanessa Kimbell’s Let’s Make Christmas bloggers’ swap recently as they were suitably festive. The only concession that I made was to use a star shaped cookie cutter instead of the usual round ones.
Every one has their own favourite version of these tarts. I like them with crumbly buttery, short crust pastry and a sweet but tangy pineapple jam. You can cheat by buying in the jam instead of making it yourself but it is quite easy to make. It just takes a bit of time but well worth the satisfaction.
500g grated fresh pineapple. If you can’t find fresh pineapple, you can use the equivalent tinned pineapple in juice (remember to drain away the juice)
250g caster sugar. Adjust to your taste but reduce the sugar if you’re using tinned pineapples in syrup
4 cloves (optional)
2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
For the Short Crust Pastry
300g plain flour
175g salted organic butter
1 egg yolk for egg wash
To make the pineapple jam
Cook the grated pineapple, spices and sugar in a saucepan on medium heat until it starts to bubble, stirring as you go. Note, you can use an electronic chopper instead of grating if you prefer.
Once the mixture is bubbling, reduce the heat to low and stir regularly for about 1 hour or until pineapple jam has reached a sticky consistency. You need the jam to be quite dry or it will run all over the pastry when you bake it.
Make sure you keep stirring the jam as it burns quite easily. Once the jam has thickened, turn off the heat, remove the spices and allow to cool completely. You can bottle this for use later.
To make the pastry
Rub in the butter and flour until the mix resembles bread crumbs.
Add in the beaten eggs to bind but don’t work it too much as the pastry will get too hard. If it is too dry, you can drizzle a few drops of water (ala Delia). Don’t be tempted to make it too wet.
The dough should all come together into a ball. When it does, wrap in cling film and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
About an hour before you are ready to roll out the pastry, take the dough out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature or it will be too hard to roll out.
Putting the tarts together
Preheat oven to 180°C. Using lightly oiled hands, roll out about a teaspoon of the pineapple jam into balls and place aside. Don't be tempted to make the balls of jam too big as they will overflow over the pastry.
Roll out the pastry dough to a 0.5cm thickness (pound coin) between two sheets of non stick baking sheet or use a lightly floured rolling pin. Remove the top sheet of paper and use your pineapple tart or cookie cutter mould to cut out shapes of your pastry. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make a small circular dent in the middle. You can then either remove the excess dough and slide the baking paper with the pastry onto your baking tray or remove each cut piece and place it on a baking sheet.
Place the prepared balls of pineapple jam into the middle of each tart and place decorative pastry on top of jam if you want. Traditionally, small pieces if dough will be rolled out and placed as a cross across the jam. In this case, I used some star shaped sprinkles to match the cookie shape after the tarts were cooked.
Brush pastry with egg wash and bake on the top shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is slightly golden. Cool on a wire rack to allow the pastry to crisp up and store in an airtight container.
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