Friday, 1 February 2019

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Pineapple tart is a popular festive snack in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Most Chinese homes have pineapple tarts during Chinese New Year as it is considered auspicious - pineapple 🍍 黄梨 in Hokkien "ong lai" sounds the same as "prosperity come" 旺来. I think its gold colour has a lot to do with it too. Their addictive delicious taste is icing on the cake tart! 😋

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Good, even very good pineapple tarts are sold everywhere. But, great pineapple tarts we have to make them ourselves. So, making pineapple tarts at home is an expression and labour of love - giving the best to the family. It is also an occasion for family bonding.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Many families have heirloom recipes and the art of making pineapple tarts is passed down through the generations.

I had the privilege to join the 曾 family in their annual tradition of making pineapple tarts for family and friends. No recipe lah... but I picked up invaluable tips on what makes a great pineapple tart.

The pineapple tart is made up of two parts - the pastry crust and the pineapple jam filling.

The pastry is made by hand kneading corn flour, milk powder, unsalted butter, and egg yolk together. Do not over knead as it makes the crust stiffer and less crumbly melty. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge (do not freeze).

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

The fresh honey pineapple is hand grated. (Honey pineapple is preferred because it is sweeter and less sour / acidic.) Use only the flesh, discard the core.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Hand grating is more tedious compared to chopping it with a motorised blender / food processor but the result is well worth it. Machine blended pineapple taste and feel nothing like hand grated pineapple which has some fine fibre and pulp. (Also avoid canned pineapple, if possible, as they are over sweetened and too limp for hand grating.)

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

The grated pineapple is cooked by simmering it in its own juice in an aluminium pot with low heat together with a piece of cinnamon and star anise. The spices add a bit of subtle aromatics and spice flavour to the grated pineapple. (Some families use cloves as well.)

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Add rock sugar which gives sweet balance to the zesty tangy taste of pineapple. Add sugar towards the end of the cooking to get the gold colour and minimise the "burnt look" from caramelised sugar. 

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

A blob of salted butter makes the grated pineapple smoother and adds a layer of subtle buttery taste.

Keep folding and turning the grated pineapple in the pot to prevent burning.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Squeeze in a fresh lime.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

The grated pineapple is ready when it is reduced to just a moist mound and no longer drippy wet. Allow the cooked gold colour grated pineapple jam to cool. Remove the cinnamon and star anise.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Once cooled, the pineapple is hand rolled into small golden jam balls. You can smell the pineapple 🍍 

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Hand making pineapple tarts while making another small batch of grated pineapple fillings. So much patience! 

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

You can see the airy crumbliness of the dough even before it is baked.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Besides the traditional rolls, balls and open face tarts, the 曾 family also use cookie moulds to make various beautiful designs of pineapple cookies.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔
Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Every single pineapple tart is lovingly hand made, one at a time.

Some of the pineapple tarts are egg washed while others are not. They are ready for the oven.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Pineapple tarts straight from the oven.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

The pineapple tarts are baked till lightly golden brown outside.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Wait, this is 2019. There is one more step before we can eat the pineapple tarts.

Feed Instagram and Facebook first📱

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Pineapple roll is one of the traditional forms.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Rose shape pineapple jam cookie.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Not sure what leaves are these but they look so pretty.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

This one like cup jelly, I like 😄

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Piggy designs because this is the Year of the Pig 🐷 Some got egg wash, some don't, some have edible food colour, others don't. Most important is all are pretty and delicious.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

The crumbly airy crust isn't thick. It crumbles quickly and melts in the mouth, releasing its bold buttery sweet flavours to complement the grated pineapple jam's sweet zesty tangy taste. 

Grated pineapple jam has a slight squeaky bite. We can feel the strands of fibres unlike pineapple chopped in a power blender with rotating blades. Grated pineapple does not stick to your teeth like gooey jam.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

The thing about good home made pineapple tarts is, once you tried it, commercial mass produced tarts get even harder to accept.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

Assorted designs gift pack for family and friends. Every single pineapple tart is lovingly made, so eat with love and appreciation.

Pineapple Tarts. A Southeast Asian Chinese New Year Tradition 黄梨塔

You know those silly charts that say one pineapple tart is how many calories lah... eat one must walk how many bus stops to burn off the calories lah.... don't care. Just make sure every ong lai tart you eat is an excellent one can liao hehe 😛

Huat ah!

Wish you a Happy New Ong Ong 🍍 Oik Oik Year 🐷

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