Food has typically played a central role in my family, particularly by the womenfolk, who make it a point to whip up piping hot dishes on the table for at least one meal per day. It still blows my mind to think of the amount of effort and fuss that has been placed on serving those plates.
So when reading food books, particularly those that share theirs or their family’s cooking experience, I wanted to write a similar story for my mum. As a towering figure in the kitchen, she could conjure up drool-worthy Chinese dishes in no time with her knack for picking out the freshest ingredients. I came to realize it would be a pity if these recipes were not properly documented.
My mum’s best dishes (read: rich, artery clogging treats) would usually be served during Chinese New Year, a festival equivalent to Thanksgiving or Christmas. Amongst the yearly feasting, an annual staple for most Singaporean/Malaysian families would be this buttery, sweet pastry called pineapple tarts.
These pastries have been mentioned on my blog both this year and last year as a testament to my love and adoration for these lovely golden goodies. If made well, these buttery tarts would melt in the mouth and dissolve into a sweet and sour fruity jam.
Be warned though the process to make them is sheer tedious and laborious. This year, with the help from five of my family members, who were involved with rolling the pineapple jams and sealing it with a thin layer of shortbread skin, we still took more than six hours to finish about 300-ish tarts.
Yet the rich buttery smell wafting from the oven as the pineapple tarts are baked is probably one of the most comforting scent that defines a large part of my festive experience. So without adieu, here is the recipe:
Pineapple tarts (makes about 80 – 100)
To make jam filling
6 whole pineapples (preferably half ripe)
400g – 600g sugar
1. Blend pineapples
2. Boil pineapples until all juice evaporates. Add in desired amount of sugar based on personal sweetness preference.
3. Stir the mixture continuously to prevent base from burning.
(Note: This step will take hours to prepare. Boil until pineapples do not stick to side of pot.)
3 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla
100g milk powder
100g fine sugar
(Egg yolk for polishing)
1. Beat butter and sugar till light. Then add in eggs and vanilla.
2. Sieve flour and milk powder. Slowly add into butter mixture. Knead the dough.
3. Put dough into fridge for 2 to 3 hours to harden.
[Optional: Roll pineapple jam into oblong shapes. Will help with next step]
4. Wrap pineapple balls with pastry.
5. Polish with egg yolk
6. Bake for approximately 25 min at 180 to 200 degrees Celsius till golden brown.