One of my 2020 resolutions is to cook and bake more. With Chinese New Year around the corner (it’s literally next week guys), I figured I’d try my hand at baking Pineapple Tarts.
It seemed daunting at first – I mean, I’ve only baked the cursory cookies or brownies for family. Pineapple Tarts seemed like a big step into the world of hundred-year-old recipes passed down from generations. Part of me wishes I could have a fiery, yet tender Peranakan grandmother who holds secret recipes only she has access to. But alas.
Embarking on finding the perfect Pineapple Tart recipe was not easy. It saw me experimenting in the kitchen till midnight daily, for a week (see: obsessed). I scoured through at least 20 YouTube videos and web articles combined and realised that there are 4 factors that make a good Pineapple Tart.
4 Factors that make a good Pineapple Tart
I decided to try perfecting the DOUGH first – I initially picked 3 dough recipes to try out but ended up not liking any. Then, I thankfully found the perfect dough texture to my liking with Dough #4 (recipe here).
Next, JAM. While I would have loved to make my own jam, it would unfortunately, have required another week experimenting in the kitchen – which I will probably reserve for when I’m less bogged down post-CNY. I bought pre-made jams from 3 sources: Phoon Huat, Sun Lik (recommended by a client’s mother), and Ailin Bakery House. I personally loved Sun Lik’s, whilst the rest of the team where caught between Phoon Huat and Ailin. So I’ll leave it up to you guys to figure out which jam you like best! Important note: Do buy your jams at least 2-3 weeks before Chinese New Year! I attempted to buy more jam from Phoon Huat and Sun Lik a few days ago and they were all SOLD OUT. Ailin Bakery House increases the price of their jam week by week. Talk about intense.
This one’s important: the BUTTER. Some recipes online have mentioned how choosing the right butter makes all the difference. I totally agree. I tried Greenfields’ Unsalted Butter on my first attempt and all my tarts tasted like cookies. I then tested 2 other Butter brands but ended up liking the SCS Unsalted Butter best. Apparently to some, the SCS Unsalted Butter brings out our local flavour best!
Lastly, the SHAPE. There are so many types of Pineapple Tarts: The enclosed circular round ball, the exposed jam, the blanketed jam (with only the left and right side of the tart exposed), and the enclosed rectangular. I experimented further by making different shapes out of each dough. Interestingly, the shape of the tart affects the taste! I ended up liking the enclosed rectangular shape on Dough #4 at the end of the day.
So let’s get down to what I call the Dough#4Jam#2 recipe, tried and tested by me! Here is what you need:
- 350g Plain Flour
- 285g SCS Unsalted Butter
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
- 1/2 Teaspoon Fine Salt
- For Egg Wash: 1 Egg with 1 Tablespoon of Water
Sift flour and salt, ensure that the salt is super fine. Grind your normal table salt with a mortar and pestle if necessary!
Mix in the butter until the texture looks like breadcrumbs (don’t overdo this step, it’s important it remains crumbly so we don’t soften the dough too much)
Add in egg yolks and vanilla essence. I’m using the Smeg SMF03 Stand Mixer with the Flex Edges Beater SMFB02 attachment. The attachment is super easy to fit in, and what’s unique about the beater is its shape: the shape allows for the beater to reach all areas of the bowl’s walls quickly and efficiently, so there’s no need to stop and scrape the mixture every few seconds or so!
Divide the dough into small portions – this is so the dough cools down more quickly in the fridge!
Leave the dough in the fridge for at least 2-4 hours. I recommend mixing the dough the night before, so you can cool the dough overnight. With the dough prepared at night, you won’t have to feel so tired after baking the next day.
After refrigeration, take a 1 teaspoon-sized portion of the dough and flatten it on your palms. Take 8g of jam and roll in into a rectangular shape. Place jam onto the dough and roll it up!
*Note: as you take the dough out of the fridge, simultaneously pre-heat your oven at 160°C for 20 minutes!
Once all the tarts have been rolled up and laid out, brush the tarts with egg wash for that gleaming shining look.
Tarts looking cute! Bake at 160°C for 15-20 minutes. Observe the tarts regularly!
In my kitchen, I’m using SMEG’s Victoria TR90 90cm Traditional Range Cooker – it’s a free-standing cooker (which means you can move it around or bring it to your next home, how neat!) that packs a punch. What my mom and Imran love about this cooker is you can bake and cook on the stove at the same time. With multiple pots and pans even! It’s easy to use and very stylish because of the traditional aesthetic and design (everyone that sees our kitchen immediately falls in love with the cooker!)
Let the tarts cool down after removing them from the oven and serve after 30 minutes! Yum!
I hope you guys will find this recipe useful – I’ve tried and tested almost all the major recipes online so you don’t have to! Save yourself the time and bake these babies ASAP! You have one more week to get your home CNY-ready.
In the spirit of abundance and joy this CNY, SMEG and I are giving away a Hand Blender HBF01 to 2 lucky winners on my Instagram! With this hand blender, we hope you can – like me – fulfil your 2020’s resolution of cooking more. Here’s to more hearty meals with our friends and families this Chinese New Year!
… and if these pictures were not enough, we filmed a 2-minute video tutorial on these tarts. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this. Enjoy watching!