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Pineapple tarts with homemade jam

Original recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover

Chinese New Year is approaching and pineapple tarts are a must. Well, they are a favourite all year round, but especially so during this special season.Being away from home and nowhere to buy them here except in London which would then cost a lot a lot, I’ve decided to make them myself. Everyone else seems to be making them anyway so it can’t be too difficult,

Made 2 batches on 2 separate occasions, and although not as pretty as many other bakers’, I am very pleased with my result and certainly enjoy eating them! My friends liked them very much too, so I’d say its a success. Only problem being that they will be finished before the actual Chinese New Year this Saturday!

Makes: ~ 30 pieces
Ingredients for pastry:
175g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
50g sweet condensed milk
1 egg yolk
250g plain flour

Homemade pineapple jam filling: see recipe here.

Glaze:
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp milk

Method:
1. Cream them butter with condensed milk till creamy.
2. Add in the egg yolk and continue to stir.
3. Add the flour in small batches, stirring after each addition to get a smooth dough.
4. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30min if it is too soft.
5. Roll of the dough, cut into small pieces and roll each piece into a ball about half the size of a golf ball. Do this for all the pieces before proceeding to the next step.
6. Flatten a piece of the dough to about 5mm, add half a teaspoon of pineapple jam to the center of the dough.

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7. Wrap the dough around the jam and place the baking paper on a baking tray.

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8. When all the tarts have been wrapped, glaze the top with egg yolk/milk glaze.

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9. Bake in a preheated fan oven at 165 deg C, middle shelf for about 23 – 25min.

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Homemade pineapple jam

I remember that my parents used to make pineapple jam, that was when I was about 5 to 7 years old, when our family lived in Subang. In those years my parents seemed to have a more chilled life, they made bread and cakes and jam and noodles at home. My mum used to make a special cake with jelly and we loved it but has never made it since we moved to Sg  about 24 (!) years ago… Anyway, we used to have the pineapple jam on toast, my parents didn’t make pineapple tarts. Actually I can’t remember having them during Chinese New Year when I was still in Malaysia…now it is a must in Sg/Msia to have pineapple tarts.

I have tried making pineapple jam once a few years ago including peeling the pineapples… In Asia you could pay the ‘uncle’ a small fee to peel them for you, I’d happily do that! Here in UK, even if I offered double the amount nobody would do it for me, in fact they might even get offended! So I have to do it myself …. After the last time I did it I said never again. But this year, I really would like to have some pineapple tarts…so I have to make my own jam etc. Actually, it isn’t so difficult.

Ingredients:

2 pineapples – I could only get them from Waitrose so I dont know the specific type. Weight after peeling about 1.6kg

350g caster sugar – i think this can be reduced a little, maybe to 300g. The pineapples were ‘supersweet’ variety, so could be for this reason that the jam ended up being a little too sweet.

1 small cinnamon stick

Method:
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1. Peel pineapples

2. Cut into chunks and blend well.
3. (optional step) In batches, microwave at high power at 2 minutes pulses 3  times per batch. I wanted to help the water evaporating. Not sure if this step actually  made any difference.
4. Pour blended pineapple into a big pot with large surface area.
5. Add cinnamon stick and cook at medium heat. Stir only every once in a while.

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NOTE: THE PINEAPPLE PUREE/JUICE WILL SPLAT and SPLASH. So be careful not to let them splat on you.
6. When the jam has been reduced to about 50-60% of original, add sugar and stir. The blend now becomes more watery again.

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7. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally. Cook till you get a thick porridge consistency and the jam is a nice dark honey colour.

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8. Remove from heat, cool a little and pack into jars.
NOTE: The jam will continue to caramelise in the hot pot. Stir occasionally.

Keep jam in the fridge – Use it for pineapple tarts or spreading on bread.

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After 4 hrs plus of work, this was all I got! But it was worth it 🙂

 

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Pandan Chiffon Cake

I love pandan chiffon cake, but I only realised I love it after I have left Singapore for a few years. Pandan is one of those flavours that is so common that the locals always know it and yet never really think about it. At least for me that was the case. Now that I am away, I am crazy about it. Never would I have thought of making my own pandan extract from the leaves if I were still home!

Pandan waffles at Prima Deli, slices of pandan chiffon cake at bakeries, pandan kuih… they’re so common at home and I have never thought to learn to make them until now. In particular, I have a strong desire to learn to make pandan chiffon cake — One because its pandan; most westerners don’t know what pandan is and hence makes it even more uniquely South east asian. I have since learnt that pandan is screwpine, which I am sure many other Sgporeans already know….
Secondly it is because it’s chiffon cake. You don’t get chiffon cakes here in English/European cafes and bakeries…most of my colleagues don’t know what they are.

After many tries and failures making chiffon cakes, I have finally made a  pandan chiffon cake. I adapted from Jo the tart queen’s recipe

Ingredients:
Makes 1 x 23 cm cake

Group A – sift together
1 cup plain flour + 2 Tbsp cornflour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Group B
6 egg yolks (**small – medium eggs)
3 Tbsp caster sugar

Group C
Pandan extract (as thick as possible) + coconut milk to a total of 180ml
40ml vegetable oil

Group D (meringue)
6 egg whites (ensure bowl is clean and dry)
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar (or cream of tartar)
4 Tbsp caster sugar

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C
2. Whisk yolks + sugar till pale and foamy.
3. Add group C and whisk briefly.
4. Sift group A into the yolk batter; alternate between sifting and whisking.
5. Using an electric beater, beat egg whites at low speed until foamy.
6. Add white wine vinegar, beat few seconds.
7. Add caster sugar gradually, alternate between adding and beating.
8. Beat at medium – high speed until stiff peaks are formed.
9. Add 1/3 of meringue to yolk batter and stir to mix.
10. Add another 1/3 and fold till all whites are incorporated.
11. Add the rest of the meringue and fold. Ensure no more white streaks can be seen.
12. Gently pour into the chiffon tin.
13. Tap the tin firmly on the kitchen top 2 – 3 times to remove big air bubbles.
14. Bake in the oven for 1 hr.(** I loosely covered the top with aluminium foil throughout – the foil should be removed at the end to allow the top to get brown.)
15. When completed, take out of the over and invert over a funnel immediately. Allow cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.

Result:
Faintly fragrant, quite soft and fluffy, just right sweetness – I am pretty happy with this although it is still not quite like the chiffon cake from bakeries! I should have removed the aluminium tent in the last 10min to allow the heat to get to the top. Also my cake is not so green as I didn’t use any pandan paste or commercial extract. It would be better to get thick pandan extract and done so directly with coconut milk but my extract was obtained previously with water and frozen so they weren’t thick at all. My friend said it tasted too eggy to her so perhaps I should also use 5 yolks 6 whites like the original recipe, or rather following the weight of the egg yolks and whites.

Perhaps the next chiffon cake will be finally perfect!

 

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Crostata di marmellata again (Italian cake with cherry jam)

Christmas has come and past, time flew past so quickly! My friend Alison kindly invited me for Christmas lunch this year so that I wouldn’t be alone at home. I made crostata di marmellata again to bring for the lunch. This time with a bit more butter and also did it alone, without the help of my puffo! For the ingredients and method please refer to my 1st crostata di marmellata post.

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I used 175g butter this time. The dough was still a little difficult to put together but that is normal, I just needed more patience. I added in total about 2 tablespoons of milk to aid putting together, but remember to do this slowly so you don’t add too much. Il puffo’s mum said I could add some of the separated egg whites instead.crostata-di-marmellata_2016_dec_25

I think it looked good and it tasted good too, pastry was buttery and with the thin layer of jam, the whole dessert was the right amount of sweetness, so I’m happy about it. Also glad I managed to bring it safely to my friend’s place in my bicycle basket, the tin clanging all the way to her house!

 

 

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Mini oreo cheesecake

 

Need to bring a sweet for Christmas lunch at Alison’s place and decided to make some mini oreo cheesecakes since her daughter loves oreos.

The recipe is taken from Wendyinkk’s blog; halved as there is only going to for 3!

Original recipe for 12 is here:

250g cream cheese
150g condensed milk
2 eggs separated
A small pinch of cream of tartar
1 Tbsp sugar (caster)
1 tube oreos (12 pieces)

Method:
1. Separate the oreos, try to keep 1 half of each oreo intact (for topping if you wish to use an intact piece). Throw each half with the cream into a mixer and pulse till fine. Scoop 1 tsp of the oreo crumbs into a muffin cup.

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2. Preheat oven now to 150degC and boil some water (for the water bath to be used later)
3. Line muffin tray with muffin paper cups and scoop 1 tsp of oreo crumbs into each cup. lightly press the crumbs to flatten.
4. Separate the egg yolk and whites.
5. Beat the egg whites with an electric beater till foamy.

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6. Add pinch of cream of tartar (** I used white wine vinegar)
7. Continue to beat the egg whites and add in the caster sugar. Beat till medium to stiff peaks are formed.

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8. Using the same whisk, beat the cream cheese till smooth (takes only 1 min), add in condensed milk, beat a little and then add in egg yolk. Beat till well combined.
9. Fold in the egg whites using a spatula until well combined.
10. Gently pour (or scoop) the mixture into each muffin cup.
11. Top each with the remaining oreo biscuit.
12. Pour some of the boiled hot water into a tray large enough for the muffin tray to fit in. Place the muffin tray in the hot water and place in oven.
13. Bake for 20 min.
14. Cool in the oven with door ajar.

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15. When completely cooled, chill in fridge till cold, around 3 hr at least.

Result:

They didn’t look as pretty as Wendyinkk’s, wonder if the oven is too hot.

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But when it was all chilled I tried one and it tasted very nice! Not too sweet too. Hope my friends like them later.

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Crostata di Marmellata

crostata-di-marmellata_2016_dec_09I am always so happy when my other half (aka il Puffo) visits me so I try to make some nice food for him. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach isn’t it?

This time we made something together — Crostata di Marmellata, one of his favourites. His mum makes a lovely cake whenever he goes home to L’italia, so it is only fitting we try out his mum’s pastry recipe.

Pastry Ingredients:
450g plain flour
3 egg yolks
1 egg (full)
150g caster sugar (**we reduced this to ~100g)
200g unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
16g (or 3 tsp) baking powder
Few drops of vanilla essence

Method:
1. Melt the butter in a glass bowl over a pot of heated water. Let this cool back down to room temperature
2. Sift the flour and add all the other ingredients (except butter) in a large mixing bowl. Mix together.
3. Add in the melted butter and stir as much as possible.
4. When it is difficult to mix, use your hands to mix and bring together the dough.
5. When the pastry dough is well mixed, wrap in cling film and chill in fridge for about 30 min.
6. When the dough is chilled, take it out and flatten to about 5-7mm thick.
7. Place the flattened dough in a tart tin or rectangle baking tray.
8. Spread a thin layer of jam (or marmellata in italian)
9. Cut strips of dough and place over the top of the jam.
10. Brush the strips surface with egg wash.
11. Bake in preheated oven 180 deg C for 20-25 min.

The result: Very delicious, I loved it! And because the pastry and jam were both thin layers, its ok to have a 2nd, or 3rd piece….it was so good even the day after. This quantity of dough is actually enough to make 2 very big tarts, so we used half and chilled the other half and baked again the next day.

We did however reduce the butter and in the words of his mamma, ‘no you do not reduce the butter’. Will have to try again then!

Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of the process but I’m sure I and we will make this again.