Sunday, January 17, 2010

The PPT (Perfect Pineapple Tart)

Every year, when it is approaching Chinese New Year, my mouth starts itching for pineapple tarts. I love the open faced versions because they somehow seem to contain more pineapple filling (then again, maybe its just an optical illusion).

Determined to come up with the perfect pineapple tart, I have been dutifully attending classes conducted by seasoned cooks, baking schools and homemakers for the past 3 years. This year is no exception. I attended one conducted by Anna Chan of Sugar Inc yesterday.

Anna's a bubbly young lady with an infectious laugh and a voracious passion for baking. Although her pineapple tarts still fall short of my impossibly high standards, I had a good time and consider her recipe one of the better ones I have tried so far.

Makes 50 regular sized tarts

Part (1): Making the Pastry
Part (2): Making the Filling
Part (3): Assembling the Tart

Part (1) - Making the Pastry

Ingredients A
315g Bake King brand Top Flour (Top flour is supposed to be lighter than normal plain flour)
60g Milk powder (she used Nespray but I guess any other brand will work fine)
30g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients B
227g SCS unsalted pure creamery butter, cold and cubed

Thoroughly combine Ingredients A together. Thereafter, rub in Ingredients B into Ingredients A with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Try to work in a cool environment as heat will affect the texture and taste of the final product. Use plastic gloves if you have warm hands.

Ingredients C
30g egg yolks (about 2 medium yolks)
1 tbsp ice water

Mix Ingredients C together and stir thoroughly. Add the mixture into Ingredients A and B and stir gently with a spoon till well combined. Squish all the contents together with your hands and knead briefly till a dough comes together. Wrap in clingwrap and chill for 30 mins.

After 30 mins, dust rolling pin and work surface lightly with flour. Flatten dough and place 2 chopsticks on either side. With the rolling pin, roll the dough to the thickness of the chopsticks.

Dip the tart cutter (can be bought from Phoon Huat) in flour and shake off the excess. Press cutter down firmly onto dough, then press gently down the removable piece to make an indent in the tart. Lift up the cutter and remove the tart gently.

Arrange the unfilled tarts on a baking tray lined with either aluminium foil or baking parchment.

Make an eggwash (comprising 1 part of egg yolk and 1 part of water) and brush the unfilled tarts with the eggwash so that it will brown nicely in the oven later.

Part (II) - Making the filling

Ingredients A
500g Bake King pineapple paste (can buy from Giant supermarket. This brand of pineapple paste works best)
2 tbsp hot water
55g Bacardi Rum

Mash pineapple paste and hot water first using the back of a pestle or rolling pin. Then add rum and continue mashing till well blended.

Measure 1/2 tsp of pineapple paste and roll into balls using wet hands. Set the balls aside.

Part (III)- Assembling the tart

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius (non fan oven) for at least 15 mins.

Place the balls of pineapple into the hollows of the pineapple tart bases.

Bake for 12-15 mins until the tarts are light golden around the edges. Always bake the same sized tarts together so they will take the same amount of time to cook. Allow the tarts to cool completely before storing.

Bon Appetit!

Note: If you are too lazy too make your own tarts, you can order your stash from the below "tried and test" confectioners.

Joyous Pastries
B1-05, Tanjong Pagar Exchange
Big and luscious open faced pineapple tarts. Owners are very generous with the filling, which is not overly sweet. The CBD crowd loves these tarts so much that the owners have set up a pushcart shop at Raffles Exchange this CNY to cater for increased demand.

Glory Catering
139 East Coast Road
Tel: 6344 1749
Traditional open faced Nonya style pineapple tarts which come in all shapes and sizes. (Apple shaped, jambu shaped, pineapple shaped- you name it, they have it!) Go for the biggest and most expensive ones- they taste exemplary.

Le Cafe Confectionery
264 Middle Road, Elias Building
Tel: 6337 2417
The ubiquitous golf ball pineapple tarts. Some folks swear by these and its not hard to see why! The beancurd tarts are worth a try too.

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