Melt in Your Mouth Pineapple Tarts
It’s been raining so much here in Central Texas that I’m starting to really miss the sunshine. And by rain I mean torrential downpours, hail and thunder and lightening that would make you truly believe that God exists. Who would’ve thought that leaving seasonal depression behind in the Northeast would turn into a weeks of rain and gloom down South!? But I guess there’s nothing better to get my butt back into baking and the blog than dark skies and rain for days. Because when it’s cloudy, I need something warm and sweet to raise my spirits. And these Melt in your Mouth Pineapple Tarts are little bites of heaven!
May is Asian America Pacific Islander month and so I feel the need to make something that is traditionally Asian. Not to mention that fact that I just finished reading the sequel to “Crazy Rich Asians,” “China Rich Girlfriend” and that book set me on a tear craving these sweet, tangy, tropical bites! Pineapple tarts are traditionally made in Singapore to celebrate Chinese New Year. They are a symbol of good luck and are talked about quite bit in the book, and since I’m sadly not visiting Singapore anytime soon… I decided to comb through the dozens of recipes I’ve found online to try and create them for myself!
These tarts start off by making your own pineapple jam. I found this part a bit tedious, the the aroma is absolutely intoxicating. I was honestly drooling by the time it was done. And by time, I mean an hour and a half. Make sure you have plenty of time to sit by the stove to watch this jam. I did it after dinner one night, and I was dying to go to bed, but I was determined to make sure I didn’t scorch the jam. I used canned pineapple because cutting up 2-3 whole pineapples was quite a task in itself and I could not bring myself to do it. I used Sliced pineapples in juice and drained them fully before placing them into the food processor. Whiz up all the pineapple until it because a mash of sorts. Drain this mixture again in a sieve and transfer the drained mash into a nonstick pot. Add in sugar, a cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt. Now for the fun part- cook this down until most of the liquid has evaporated. This took me about an hour. The mash will turn into a golden brown paste. Place this into a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight if possible.
Now it’s time to make this a tart. I know it’s called a tart, but these honestly remind me more of very light shortbread cookies. I love this part of the recipe because there is no mixer or machines. Just your bare hands. Sift together the dry ingredients , then add softened butter and egg yolk and knead with your hands! I can’t tell you how much fun I had doing this! Plus the butter is a great moisturizer! Win Win! Knead this mixture until it comes together into a dough that no longer sticks to your hands. This takes about 5-10 minutes. It’s going to look crumbly and dry, but the heat of your hands will help bring everything together eventually. Just believe!
Take the jam out of the fridge and divide it into 30 balls. Do the same for the tart dough. Using your hands place the dough into a tortilla press and flatten to a disk (you can also do this with your hands, but I like the consistent thickness I get with the press) Place a ball of pineapple jam into the center and wrap the dough around it, much like a soup dumpling. Roll the tart between your hands to smooth it out, pinch together any dough that starts to crack. Shape this tart into a 1-2” rectangular log and use a paring knife to create cross hatch marks on the top. Place on your baking sheet about one inch apart. Repeat with the rest of the dough and jam. Before baking, brush the tips of each with an egg wash. The one I used was a mixture of egg yolk and condensed milk which created a super glossy finished when baked.
Enjoy these warm or room temp with a cup of tea of a big glass of milk! It’ll get you into that tropical mood in no time at all!
*Adapted from Rasa Malaysia
Yields 20-30 tarts depending on the size
For the Pineapple Jam
3 20oz cans Pineapple Slices
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch of salt
For the cookie crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour(350g)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar/icing sugar/powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (I used Kerrygold), softened
2 egg yolks
1 egg yolk + 1/2 tablespoon condensed milk lightly beaten for egg wash
Make the Pineapple Jam (Best if made the night before and cooled in the fridge overnight) Drain the pineapples and place them in a large food processor. Blend the pineapples until they are a mush (approximately 10 seconds) Place this mash into a sieve and drain off some of the liquid before adding to a medium nonstick pot.
Add the sugar, salt and cinnamon stick to the pineapple mash and cook on medium high heat until thick. Stir regularly to prevent scorching. This took me about an hour to cook down. The result will be a thick past that’s golden in color. Transfer this to a bowl, cover and let cool in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 sheet trays with parchment paper. Set aside.
Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar in a big bowl.
Add the softened butter and egg yolks to the flour mixture. Knead together with your hands until the dough is formed and is no longer sticking to your hands. (approx 5-10 minutes) If the dough is too crumbly or dry, add a little bit about 1 tablespoon of butter until the dough is easy to work with.
Divide the dough and pineapple jam (filling) each into 30 equal rounds. Flatten the pastry dough with your palms or even better, a tortilla press and put the pineapple filling in the middle and use the dough to cover the filling. Use your palms to round it up (much like a soup dumpling) and then shape it into a roll about 1 1/2-inch long shape. Use a small paring knife to make criss-cross patterns on the tart.
Place the pineapple tarts on a tray lined with parchment paper about an 1 inch apart.
Whisk together the egg yolk and condensed milk and brush over the tops of the shaped tarts.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light brown.