Chinese New Year is just round the corner and I’ve been tempted by family and friends who are raving about the food they’ve been having back in Singapore on Facebook and Whatsapp. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Chinatown in Frankfurt and I’ve been told (not sure how true though) that the closest would be in London. Although I would love to soak up some Chinese New Year spirit, I’m not insane enough to fly to London for it. And so, I embarked on a pineapple tart production journey.
Only two people in my family make pineapple tarts – my aunt and cousin. They both make amazingly awesome pineapple tarts to the point that I would NEVER try to make these goodies back home for fear that I’ll be shot if they didn’t taste good. My family isn’t the right crowd to hang out with if you cannot take criticism. We simply DO NOT tolerate bad food.
Pineapple tart is one of the many Chinese New Year must-have goodies. It symbolises prosperity, wealth and good luck in Chinese culture. According to my Chinese horoscope (well, not that I absolutely believe in it) I will not be having an awesome year in terms of health and prosperity. Therefore, I’ve started a whole new exercise regime and decided to ruin it by making buttery, melt-in-the-mouth pineapple tarts. How contradictory can I get?
I researched online to find a recipe that I was comfortable with and decided to follow the pastry and filling recipe from here. If you’re in Germany, use Type 405 flour as it’s pretty much the same as all-purpose flour. However, when I was kneading the dough, I found it a little too dry if I followed the measurements from the recipe. I ended up using 250g of butter instead of 225g. I also added a cinnamon stick to the filling when cooking. Why? I have no idea but I just thought since the Germans seem to love cinnamon I might as well add it too. Like I’ve always said, cooking is all about being creative. It’s really boring to stick strictly to a recipe.
In Singapore, some people buy pre-made pineapple jam out of convenience to make these goodies but I decided to follow my aunt’s “dedication” and made my own jam. If you’re worried that the jam might splatter when it’s cooking, make sure it’s on low heat and not too watery. Making pineapple tarts requires a lot of patience.
It took me 5 hours to get to the picture below (i.e all wrapped up and glazed, ready for the oven). It shouldn’t take that long but I was working under the supervision of my cousin in Singapore via Skype and Whatsapp. You need to be very organised when baking pineapple tarts. Make sure you pre-roll the jam before moulding them into little balls of “gold” (or so I believed!) as it makes life hell a lot easier.
Verdict: The pastry turned out really well. Much better than I expected. The pineapple jam was really nice too. I didn’t add as much sugar as the recipe recommended since I wanted to taste the actual pineapple more than the sugar itself. I’m quite strict with myself when it comes to cooking so if there is anything that can be improved on is definitely the texture of the pastry and I want to make it thinner in the future. Right now it has a shortbread texture which is nice but still quite different from the melt-in-your-mouth sort of pastry. I’ll need to consult the “Master Chef” in the family during my next visit to Singapore.
We wish everyone a very Happy Chinese New Year and that the snake (since it’s the year of the snake) will bring you good health, happiness and even more prosperity!