Pineapple tarts, the staple goodie for Chinese New Year, come in many variations. There are covered ones with a fibrous middle, tarts that are topped with a beautiful lattice pattern and soft, pillow-shaped ones. But our favourite has to be the open-faced tart, one where the golden jam stands loud and proud atop a crusty, flaky pastry. It is perhaps the most auspicious-looking version. Ideally, the jam is not too sweet and slightly tart, so it won’t get too jelak when you indulge in more than one. The crust, of course, has to be buttery. It also has to be firm, and not so delicate that it crumbles into pieces when you bite into it.
This recipe by Chef Anup Kumar from AllSpice Institute is just right. It’s easy to follow, despite the tedious, repetitive steps. But rope in a couple of extra pairs of hands, and you’ll get a few containers of tarts out in a jiffy, ready to impress your loved ones. We tried this recipe from the SCS Bake-Out, an event organised by SCS to showcase how baking can be a great way to spend quality time with family and friends.
Open-Faced Pineapple Tarts
Makes 50 tarts
To make pineapple jam (make in advance the night before):
5 pineapples, core removed
2 cinnamon sticks
5 pieces star anise
5 pieces cloves
¼ tsp salt
500g sugar (add half the amount first and taste the sweetness of the jam mixture to see if you wish to add in the rest)
1. Beat the pineapples in a food processor until fine.
2. Transfer the blended pineapples into a large pot and add the cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and salt and cook for 45 min.
3. Add in sugar and cook until the mixture thickens.
5. Remove from heat and place the pineapple jam through a strainer to remove excess moisture. Cling wrap the jam and chill overnight.
6. Remove the spices and store it in an air-tight container before use.
For the dough:
250g plain flour
50g icing sugar
¼ tsp salt
200g butter, cold and cut into cubes
3 egg yolks
1 egg, beaten for eggwash
1. Preheat oven at 180 deg C.
2. Sift the flour, cornflour, icing sugar and salt together.
3. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment or a food processor, mix the flour mixture and butter together on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until you get a crumbly texture.
4. Beat in the egg yolks till a soft dough is formed. Do not over mix.
5. Place the dough on a floured surface and shape it into a round, flat disk.
6. Roll and flatten the dough evenly to 4mm thick.
7. Use a cutter to cut and shape the dough.
8. Beat an egg in a separate bowl. Lightly brush over the dough shapes with the beaten egg.
9. Roll your pineapple jam into ball shapes, approximately 9 to 10g each.
10. Then place the jam over the egg-washed dough shapes.
11. Bake for 15 to 18min until golden brown.
KEEP IN MIND THESE TIPS FOR A BUTTERY, FLAKY CRUST:
1. Use cold butter, preferably directly out from a freezer.
2. Be patient when mixing your dry ingredients and butter together. The crumbly texture, achieved after 3-5min of mixing with an electric mixer, is what gives your crust an added flakiness. But don’t over mix as it may result in melted butter.
3. A good quality butter is a must for a fragrant tart. We used SCS Butter here.