Someone who read my last post commented to me that I had kept my readers waiting quite some time for the sequel. Much as it pains me to admit it (pride going before a fall and all that) but the reason was because I was not quite satisfied with my pineapple tarts. The jam turned out beautifully – sweet and aromatically spicy, but with a tangy edge to it – but the pastry turned out a little too hard and not crumbly enough. I was also trying to get the hang of the pastry cutter/mould and so the shape of my tarts was not that nice; nor was my jam perfectly rounded or smooth. All in all, an amateur effort.
Fortunately I had made loads of jam so I had the opportunity to try the pastry again. This time the tarts turned out nicely shaped (I had improved my cutting techniques) and the pastry more crumbly and softer in texture. I must admit that since I used a standard shortcrust pastry recipe, it was not as buttery and rich as some other pineapple tarts I’ve eaten. Also my mother was commenting that I should have put in some salt (but I was not using unsalted butter, was my reply) and used some lard as well as butter (I’m concerned about health implications, I said). Nonetheless, I thought the pastry complemented the tarts well.
Anyway, here is a brief recipe:
(generally, do this at least one day before the pastry to let the jam cool down completely)
1. Take two pineapples, dice and blend finely in a blender. Add a little pineapple juice to facilitate the blending process – the juice adds a little zing to the jam later on. Note that traditional recipes call for the pineapple to be grated or chopped finely but this is very timeconsuming and probably the reason why I didn’t get around to making pineapple tarts for so long. It is of course possible (as someone suggested) to grate half and blend half the pineapple, for a better and more chunky texture. But for simple and fuss-free pineapple jam, I’d go for the blender.
2. Slowly cook the pineapple mixture over a low flame. Add 2 cloves, a stick of cinnamon and a piece of star anise to flavour the jam. Cook till thick (this should probably take 30-40 minutes or so), remove from flame. See picture for how the cooked jam should look like.
Ingredients: 250g flour; 125g butter; pinch of salt to taste; 2 eggs (beaten).
1. Sift flour and mix with salt. Rub butter into the flour till it resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Pour in the beaten egg slowly, mix together to form the dough - use hands if nec. No need to use all the egg. Put dough in fridge for at least half an hour to cool.
3. Roll out the dough to about 0.5 cm or so. Using a pineapple tart cutter (metal ring with mould within to form depression in pastry), cut out the tarts and put them on baking tray. Fill in with jam, glaze with beaten egg (now you know why you don't need to use it all) diluted with a little milk. Top with a little pastry piece.
4. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for about 15-18minutes, when it has reached a light golden brown colour.