Pineapple Tarts, Traditional

What is the Chinese New Year without these all time favourite for Singaporeans? A big No-No! Pineapple tarts are a definite must-have during these festivities especially for their association to the Hokkien name for them – ‘Ong lai’ – which is loosely translated to ‘Gold comes’. Pineapple tarts are traditionally made during the festive seasons – Chinese New Year for the Chinese, Hari Raya Puasa or Ramadan for the Malays, Deepavali for the Indians and Christmas for the Eurasians.

Inspired by some new crimping, yes crimping, designs posted on a local Facebook Food group, I went further.

The Rose Pineapple Tart featured by other cooks was the pattern crimped onto a round tart. I added rose essence and pink colouring before crimping. Comments I received were that the rose essence was too strong and was acceptable to some others.

Bamboo charcoal was added to the dough for the creation of the Black Gold Pineapple Tart was a dusting of edible gold powder. Personally, I could not taste any difference other than the look and fortuitous name to this new addition.

Green tea Pineapple Tart was a definite hit. The blending of the green tea with the pineapple filling thrilled the taste buds.

The traditional pineapple tarts in 2 versions pandered to those who preferred the more traditional look of these tarts. The crimping of the larger tart was a traditional practise and has since given way to a no fuss pastry base with the introduction of newer pineapple tart moulds easily available in the marketplace.

Ingredients:

180g (6 oz) plain / all-purpose flour

10g (about 4 teaspoons) cornstarch

227g (8oz) unsalted butter, diced

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon water

Pineapple jam about 1 cup (homemade or from Asian store. This is different from the regular jams that you find in a bottle and is specific for this pastry.)

Method:

  • Place flour & cornstarch in a mixing bowl.
  • Cut in the butter and mix till it resembles bread crumbs or is crumbly.
  • Lightly beat the egg yolk with the water, add into the flour mix. Knead lightly till it comes together. You can either plastic bag the dough and leave in the fridge or start using.
  • Break off about half of the dough, roll it between 2-sheets of parchment/waxed paper or clingwrap till a thickness of about 6mm (1/4″).
  • Use Pineapple tart moulds or Linzer cookie mould to cut out shapes in the dough. Place the tart/cookie cutouts onto a cookie tray, about 3cm (1″) apart.
  • Repeat till almost all the dough is used.
  • Crimping of the traditional tart is done with a special pair of tweezers, pretty much like pulling eyebrows! except gentler. To do this, you will need to dip the tweezers into some flour before crimping along the edges of the cutout. Watch the video below for how the crimping is done.
  • Spoon about 1 teaspoonful or more (according to preference) of the pineapple jam into the indent in the cutouts.
  • Another tradition is to have a ‘cross’ over the top of the jam. This is done by rolling a small portion of the dough thin (as thin as you can/like for handling). Simply cut with the wheeled tweezers thin strips.
  • Bake in a preheated 175ºC (350ºF) oven for about 20-25 minutes.
  • Once the bottom of the tarts/cookies turn slightly brown or you can lift the tart with a spatula, it is done. Remove and cool on a rack.
  • If you are baking 2-trays at a time, remember to switch the trays around (top/bottom, inside/outside) halfway during baking.
  • Store in an air-tight container when completely cooled.

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