I could never really understand what it was about these cookies, but people appear to go completely ga-ga over them. I have had my fair share of pineapple tarts, but honestly, I have not had any that was good enough for me to want to eat it. At least, none of the ones I have eaten in recent years can compare with the ones I remembered from my childhood, handmade lovingly by my grandmother to celebrate the lunar new year festivities.
So, after weeks and weeks of pouring over multiple recipes, I finally narrowed down on 3 slightly different versions. Since my main focus was to get the right pastry, I decided to skip the pineapple jam and just use the store-bought version. I reckon it was a bit sweeter than I would have liked, but, with a good enough pastry, I believe it can work.
Unfortunately, my first attempt did not turn out well at all. The pastry was too bland, despite the generous amount of butter, and, as I was not sure what temperature to bake the cookies at, I ended up over-baking them causing the pineapple jam to be dried to sticky. Urgh. But, I was not going to give in so easily. And thankfully, on the second attempt, I believe I have found my perfect pineapple tart pastry recipe.
Makes approximately 40 cookies
150g top flour
30g milk powder
15g confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
scant ½ teaspoon fine salt
113g salted butter, cubed and chilled
Egg wash with 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon milk
pineapple jam to taste
1) Whisk together flours, milk powder, confectioner’s sugar and salt until well mixed.
2) Allow the cubed butter to chill in the freezer for about 15 minutes, before dumping it into the flour mixer, then rubbing it in with your fingers. Alternatively, you can also use a pastry cutter. Work the mixture until you get little pieces of butter the size of peas.
3) To shape, scoop roughly 1 rounded teaspoon of pastry, and squeezed it in your hand until the dough comes togeter. Roll it into a ball, then press it down to become a small disk. I liked my pastry a little thicker, so I made a bit of a dent in the middle for the pineapple jam. Crimp the edges using a crimper.
4) Preheat oven to 165C (fan) and proceed to egg wash the pastry. Bake for 10 minutes. Then, do another egg wash before baking for a further 5 minutes.
5) Remove pastry from the oven and top each pastry with a flattened ball of pineapple jam.
6) The floral cutout on top of the pineapple jam was made by rolling leftover pastry between 2 sheets of parchment paper and cutting it using a small fondant cutter.
7) Return to preheated oven and bake for a further 10 minutes, keeping an eye to make sure the floral cutouts on top do not get burnt
I was really, really pleased with the second batch of cookies, and I think the salt really brought out the buttery flavour of the pastry and also balanced the sweetness of the pineapple jam. The baking time is also perfect in that the pineapple jam is just dried enough to not be sticky but still nice and moist inside. And the icing on the cake is – they are oh, so, pretty!