Pineapple Tarts is seriously our favourite Chinese New Year Snacks. I would generally tried this at every house we go visiting to especially it is politeness to at least eat something at every house.
There are generally two versions of pineapple tarts ~ one with the jam wrapped in and the other with it exposed. We prefer the wrapped-in ones. It is rather hard to find really good exposed ones as those available outside are very dry.
Almost all Chinese New Year goodies are labour intensive and time consuming in making them. Pineapple tarts are one of those most time consuming ones. The wrapped-in ones should be nicely wrapped and each should be bite size, about 1/2 of our thumb size or 1/3 of our fourth finger. Some say exposed ones are easier as most are made with molds and jam is just placed into it. But traditionally, lines are made with clippers to make them look more flower-like and prettier. So that is too me no less labour intensive. Also you must make sure jam cooked is not too dry for this type as the jam is baked exposed.
I started mine by making the jam in December. Good jam is a must. The pure fragrance of 100% pineapple, especially good ones, cannot be compromised.
3-4 no of pineapple, nicely ripe
4-5 no of cloves
1 tablesp of minced ginger
1:3 ratio of sugar to pineapple juice and pulps, i.e. 500 gm of coarse sugar to 1500gm of pineapple juice and pulp
1) Skin off and rid the eyes. Cut pineapple into small pieces and blend in a blender. Add 1/2 cup of water with the first batch blended. Strain to get the juice, which will be used for subsequent blending. Weigh the juice and pulps before deciding on the amount of sugar.
2) Put all ingredients in a good pot and boil uncovered. Once boiled, turn to small fire and let it cook into jam like. Stirring all the while. It will take approx 4 hours for about 2 kg of pineapple juice and pulps. If you used good, thick, stainless steel pot like AMC, you can let it simmer over fire, only stirring 4-5 times in one hour while you go about doing other things.
3) Cook until when you stir the pineapple jam, you can split the jam and see the bottom of pot without it flowing back immediately.
4) Keep in container, cool and chilled in fridge and use only the next day. If you cook it well, this will keep even up to a year. Please dont reduce too much sugar cause without the right amount, the jam will grow fungus in no time.
The Skin Dough:
This is the best skin dough i have. It is really short and will crumble in your mouth yet it does not break during baking. It is definitely a money making recipe for some people. It seems that one tub of 100 tarts is going for about RM 38 to 40 in Kuching.
260gm of good butter, salted
70 gm of castor sugar
1/2 no of egg
380 gm of plain flour sifted
1) Beat butter and sugar til white and fluffy. Add egg and finally flour. No additionaly flour is need for moulding/shaping. The dough feels sticky but it does not stick onto your hand. Let it rest in fridge for an hour or so before moulding. It's easier tp shape it that way.
2) Egg wash your tarts with 1 egg + 1 egg yolk with a few drops of cooking oil.
3) Grease your pan and bake your tarts at 160 deg without fan for 15-20 min till lightly brown.
4) Take out and egg wash again. Bake at 180 deg without fan for 8 to 10 min till glossy golden brown.
5) Cool slightly before keeping in containers.