Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting Ready for Chinese New Year - Pineapple Tarts (Part one)

I can't imagine celebrating a Chinese New Year without eating any pineapple tarts...

Last year, I've used an express method to bake pineapple tarts for our Chinese New Year 2011. The advantages of using this method are: 
  • It is really fast and easy. 
  • The pineapple tarts are delicious.
  • Everything including the pineapple jam is all homemade!
The only disadvantage is that I can only make 15 tarts which are just not enough to satisfy our family's consumption.

This year, I am baking more pineapple tarts for my family. At the same time, I would love to try and test different pineapple tart recipes to seek for an ideal one for my future bakes.

As I was reading and exploring every recommended recipes, I came across about a few concerns that I need to embrace making a large batch of pineapple tarts...

Wendy, Table for 2 or more has highlighted the danger from splattering of hot pineapple juice while cooking the pineapple jam.

Ju, The Little Teochew has mentioned that melt-in-mouth pastry can be difficult to handle as the buttery pastry may melt down in our hot summer days.

For the sake of continuing the culture of eating GOOD QUALITY pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year, I'm writing down the following checklist to gear up for my series of pineapple tart bakes:

Pineapple - We are lucky that Australian pineapples are in season now.

Butter -  I have stocked up the best quality butter to bake these Chinese New Year delicacies (checked)

"Heat-proof" hands to endure splattering of pineapple jam
(I think that I'm tough enough to do this - checked)

Being BRAVE enough to handle melting pastry and explore different pineapple recipes (CHECKED! LOL) 

Since last year, I remember reading a detailed pineapple jam post and a cream-cheese-melt-in-mouth pineapple tarts post, both by Wendy, Table for or more. Both her posts have very precise step-by-step instructions and she has shared lots of tips and techniques with her pineapple jam cooking and so I've decided to use both her recipes to make my first batch of pineapple tarts this year.

Both Wendy's recipes are really good. Unlike the commercial made pineapple jam, my homemade one is mild in sweetness and deliciously soft with adequate amount of moisture and fibers in every single bite of this jam. The cream-cheese-melt-in-mouth pastry is delicious too but I was seeking an ultimate melting kind of texture and so my quest for more pineapple tarts recipes continues...
Cream-cheese-melt-in-mouth pineapple tarts
homemade pineapple tart jam
This is how I made my pineapple jam...
A closer look of the tarts....
Inside the tart...Yum!
This jar of pineapple tarts is ready for our Chinese New Year celebration...

Here's the detailed recipe from Table for 2 or more
(with my modification in blue)


2 Morris pineapples
(about 1.6kg each before peeling, after peeling it’s about 900g each)
(Mine is about 2.3kg each before peeling, after peeling is about 1.3kg)
2 cups sugar (400g) (Increase to 500g for 2.6kg of peeled pineapples)
1 cinnamon stick (I didn't add this)

1. Peel the pineapples.
2. Cut pineapples into chunks. Do not discard the core which contains most of the precious fiber.

3. Put half the pineapple chunks into a blender, add 1/3 cup of water and blitz away. Pour 80% of the blended stuff into a pan or wok. (Tip: Wendy recommends pan or wok with large evaporation surface)

4. With some remaining blended pineapple in the blender, repeat blending process with the rest of the pineapples, always leaving some blended stuff in the blender if you need to blend more chunks and you won't need more water.
(I didn't add any water while blending the pineapples. I blended the pineapples in 5 batches and didn't need any water to blend the smaller batches of pineapples)

5. Cook pineapple paste with cinnamon stick (I didn't add this) on medium heat until it's very pasty, like thick oatmeal. Do not stir it all the time.

6. Add in sugar and the jam will turn "watery" again. Turn to lower medium heat, and cook until it is very pasty. Stir once a while only, but keep an eye on it.
7. Increase the heat to high. Do not stir to allow the base jam to develop its caramelized colour. Stir once a while to check on the colour. Stop when it almost reaches your preferred colour. Take note that some pans will continue to caramelize even when the heat is off.

Wendy's important tips:
  • Add sugar after the pineapple paste has lost more than 80% of its water. It reduces the risk of burnt jam and the most importantly, it splatters horribly when there is a lot of water with the large amount of sugar.
  • Do not stir often when you reduce the pineapple paste. Once you stir, it starts splattering again, even with no sugar.
  • Use a heavy based pan, if possible. It reduces the risk of burning the jam.
  • Wear kitchen mittens to protect lower arms and hands from hot splattering jam.
    It's better to under-cook the jam rather than to overcook it. The jam will thicken further when it is cooled. If the jam is too wet after cooling, the jam can be cooked it again to reduce the moisture further. If it's too dry, diluting the jam with water may ruin its texture.
  • If need to cook more than 2 pineapples, do not cook all at once. Pour in paste from one fruit into the pan/wok and let it reduce. While it reduces, prepare the next fruit and pour in when it is drying.
  • Turn on exhaust hood to aid the evaporation of moisture. 

Makes 125 pieces of tart

250g butter (salted)
(I used unsalted ones)
75g caster sugar (replaced by icing sugar)
170g cream
50g cream cheese
3 egg yolks
400g cake flour
30g corn starch

One more yolk for glazing
(plus 1 tsp condensed milk and 1 tsp milk)

Pineapple jam from 2 large pineapples

1. Cream butter, sugar and cream cheese together.

2. When it comes together, pour in cream and whip on medium speed for 10 min. Scrape the sides from time to time. Batter may look lumpy, but will turn creamy.
3. Beat in egg yolks for 1 min.

4. Sift both flours and pour half of it into buttery mixture. Mix on low speed until it comes together and pour in the remaining flour and beat until it comes together. Do not over mix.

5. Let dough sit for 10 min minimum before you start wrapping your jam with it.

6. Roll teaspoonfuls of pineapple jam in tiny balls. Keep them chilled while preparing the pastry.

7. Divide the pastry into 3/4 tablespoonful sizes. Wrap the pineapple jam into a slightly flattened pastry and roll into a round or rod shapes.

8. Preheat oven at 160°C (fan forced) or 180°C. Brush the pastry with egg wash and
baked them for 20 min. Transfer the baked tarts to a wire rack after 10 min of cooling and allow them to cool completely on wire rack.

Note: Using 2/3 of the pastry recipe, I've baked 60 pineapple tarts and have half the amount of pineapple jam left for more pineapple tarts baking...see you at part two.

Happy Baking
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  1. yay! you did it! this must be quite an adventure for you cooking these pineapple jam! YOUr hubby must be so proud of you! another certificate from your hubby on the way!

  2. I love the pineapple jam idea! I will have to make it. The tarts looks delicious!

  3. Wow your pineapple tarts look yummy! How much does your final pineapple jam weighs? Can't wait to see your second batch!

  4. Hi Zoe, delicious pineapple tarts. This pastry is really melt in the mouth, I try it last year.
    I make my own jam too but add cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick and lime juice to give extra kick.
    Have a nice day.

  5. Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments.

    Jasline: I didn't weigh my final pineapple jam. All I got from 2 large pineapples is just a container of jam and it is what you see in my picture. The container is 1L in capacity and is 90% filled with my jam :D

  6. That's a gorgeous colored jam ... seriously golden! I love the look of this cookie version ... is it similar to the taiwanese ones? I haven't really tried those either. But the cream cheese in this pastry sounds absolutely delicious! I might just give this this a go. Thanks!

  7. so much preparation works, no wonder the pineapple tarts so expensive out there ~.~

  8. Wow, I must give you extra mark for this pineapple tart as you made it with own pineapple filling..Looking at so many bloggers making pineapple tarts, i feel like want to make this too, earlier this tart is not in my CNY cookie planning list, hehehe..

  9. Hi Zoe, love this delicious recipe. Yum!!!

  10. Wow. That is amazing that you made your own pineapple jam! Those pineapples look amazing, so I am sure your jam was amazing too :)

  11. I have just finished making some, too. It would not be New Year without the Pineapple Tarts for the Malaysian. Can I link your's to my event for CNY?

  12. Zoe, this looks wonderful! The pic where you break the tart and show the filling - heavenly! :D
    Kavi (Edible Entertainment)
    Ongoing Event:(Kid's Delight - Something Sweet)

  13. Homemade pineapple tart definitely the best! Well done!

  14. The pastry with cream cheese ?! I'm sold :D Love the idea of making pineapple jam and making that yumminess ! But for now , I'll settle for the commercialized one :P Great job , Zoe !

  15. I love pineapple tarts but they can be very time consuming to make. Seeing all these CNY cookies makes me miss the celebrations at my parents' home.

  16. Omg, those pineapple tarts looks absolutely stunning.

  17. Very delicious tarts with juicy filling..
    first time to your space n happy to follow you :-)
    Hope u'll follow my space n Thanx for drpping by my space..

    Erivum Puliyum

  18. Yes, these are very delicious and I used the same recipe to make mine too! Everyone love it!

  19. It is the year of the dragon right? I am a rooster and my son is a ship. We took my son to a chinese restaurant here in Athens and he ate everything with chop sticks. He particularly enjoyed the noodles and the tofu. We had a lot of fan. Anyway, i am sure he would be thrilled with these little tarts as well. they look indeed melt-in-your mouth!

  20. Yes this is the time of year when all the pineapple pastry recipes start popping up. I really like how easy the assembly is in this recipe, for I am not that great on shaping or forming pastry shells. Also, another bonus is that the jam is not exposed in the final product. Exposed jam usually dries out, so those type of pastries do not keep well. I am saving this special recipe! My niece loves to make jam and jellies so this would be a nice team project. Thanks for sharing this tasty recipe-I look forward to #2!

  21. Hi Zoe! These tarts look amazing and so soft, like they would literally melt in your mouth. I am so impressed by all of your baked goods.

  22. I love pineapple!! your pics look delicious!

  23. Pineapple tarts is a "must have" Chinese New Year Cookies ! One need to have the courage to make your own pineapple filling !

  24. these look like they have such a perfect texture! delicious!

  25. Pineapple tart is a must have cookie during CNY! Everyone favourite

  26. lot of work to make the pineapple filling!! Zoe, your pineapple tarts look so delicious! Wishing you and your family a wonderful year of dragon!

  27. wonderful...will do this definitely...actually i have the ingredients now!

  28. First time coming across a recipe with cream cheese, must be yummy. Guess the only way to find out will to make my own, huh?

  29. What a fantastic post; love the look of these special tarts. I can almost taste them. Love pineapple.

  30. Oh yes, these really do sound as if they would melt in the mouth - love the addition of the cream cheese!
    Mary x

  31. oh man that looks so good!! i'm seeing pineapple tarts everywhere on the blogs now, really wish I could have some, but am too lazy to spend all that effort to make them myselves, and unfortunately her ein london, it's not that easy getting hold of good ones. wish i could nick yours!

  32. Wow Zoe, homemade pineapple tarts? They sure look great, I almost can taste them melting in my mouth. Beautifully done.
    Have a great week :-)

  33. Will you be surprised if I tell you that in my village(I grew up in a small town in Malaysia), we never eat pineapple tarts for CNY? Yes, it's true. That's why I don't have a deep impression for this tart but I know it is in fact very popular in most of the families. So, how come I never had that when I was young? Really strange.

    I can see that you've put in lots of effort of making this! Great job! Happy Chinese New Year to you & your family!

  34. this is one of those recipes I am jealous over- I wish I had thought of it. How simply creative and genius! I love pineapple and baking it is like heaven!

  35. Wow, Zoe, I'm so craving for pineapple tarts after looking at yours! Have not made any in years! Too busy with other "cookies"!! I do not like to add the cinnamon stick to the jam too, prefer it naturally "pineappley"!! No time to make any this year, still busy with cookies! Hopefully I'll make some after CNY!!

  36. Zoe these look absolutely delicious!

  37. I hope your hands ended up being heat proof! :) These tarts remind me of some jelly "pockets" I made last year (but yours are probably much better!) :)

  38. Yum! These look so good, I'm definitely bookmarking these to try in the summer!!

  39. Hi, thanks for sharing this recipe. however, i would like to ask what is 170g cream. seem like everybody has no problem with this except me. izit whipping cream? or is there any other cream? hope you can tell me so that i can make it this coming saturday.

    1. Hi, the cream that I used has 35% fat content and it is the same cream that you are referring as whipping cream too. Cheers!

    2. Thanks for your prompt replied. i shall try it out very soon and will let you know the outcome!

  40. thank you for such an informative post!