One of my favourite Chinese New Year goodies are the pineapple tarts. I must admit I don’t really know much about their origin , but these golden, clovey, cinnamonish, sweet smelling tarts are heavenly with the buttery pastry just melting in your mouth . Year after year, growing up -we never missed a Chinese New Year without Aunty Jane’s pineapple tarts – my mom’s colleague/friend . She is Eurasian* and they are the best! I refused to eat any others. ( I noticed though these days they are called nyonya pineapple tarts – is that right? I do believe it is Eurasian rather…)
Aunty Jane is your classic home baker , quite a gifted one, whose creations are shared and enjoyed by her friends and their family, just like my mom, another gifted home baker whose speciality is the butter /sugee cake.
Each of these homebakers usually showcases their excellent creations during festive season. They are what I call, ‘unsung heroes’ of the culinary world – who may not be as famous as Nigella Lawson, but have done much to keep home baking and slow cooking thriving allowing my generation growing up to actually enjoy home baked goodies instead of factory produced ones , many of which we are seeing today.
Sadly Aunty Jane is no longer with us and as a tribute to her I am reproducing her recipe which she has kindly passed on to my mother so that the tradition and the recipe continues on for many more generations. At least it will be hovering somewhere in cyber space after I am gone too. That is my hope , the recipe will be used for many generations to come and bring joy to those who love good food.
I just made them last night and they are now stored and ready for CNY. Here is Aunty Jane’s original recipe.
- 225g butter chill (salted butter)
- 400 g plain flour
- A pinch of salt *
- 1 large egg yolk (if XL) or 2 small egg yolks
- 5 tsp icey water ( place 1/2 cup cold water and add 3 ice cubes to it)
Rub in method – butter and flour, add egg yolk, slowly add ice water until forms a ball consistency, and dough comes off the sides of the bowl. Rest the dough for at least 20 mins in the fridge before rolling it out.
- 2 pineapples
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 250 g sugar
- 4 cloves
Grate pineapple, strain away pineapple juice (let the pulp sit on a sieve for 1/2 hr) but keep the juice. Slowly cook the pineapple, sugar and spices on slow fire until jam consistency is very thick but not dry. Stir the jam constantly, otherwise you can risk burning it due to the high sugar content. If too dry add some pineapple juice to it. Let it cool. Keep in the fridge if not making tarts immediately.
Roll out dough, cut out the pastry using a round cookie or tart cutter and position nicely each pastry in small tartlet tin. Fill each tart case with a spoonful of jam, then place 2 thin strip of dough on top to make a cross on the top.
Bake 20 mins in a preheated oven, 180 degrees Celsius til light golden.
Makes about 30 tarts (4cm in diameter each)
* more on Eurasian culture please see following links: