Pineapple Tarts

Makes around 90 small pieces

Pastry adapted from David Lebovitz

A popular Lunar New Year treat in Singapore and Malaysia made with a flaky shortbread pastry filled with pineapple jam.

2 pineapples, about 2.5 pounds each
1 star anise or clove
1 cinnamon stick, split lengthwise
2 cups / 500 grams sugar

1 2/3 cup / 360 grams unsalted butter
1/4 cup / 60 ml vegetable oil
1/3 cup / 75 ml water
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp / 60 g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 3/4 cups / 600 g plain flour

1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tsp condensed milk

Peel and chop pineapple and puree in a blender until smooth. In a wok, combine pineapple puree, anise, and cinnamon. Cook on high heat until almost dry, around 15 minutes. Add sugar and stir until melted. Continue to cook while stirring occasionally until the jam becomes light brown and begins to thicken, around 20 minutes. Lower heat slightly and continue to cook until thick and dry, stirring continually to prevent burning.

Let filling cool. Jam can be made one day ahead.

Put all ingredients except flour in a pot. Bring pot to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling until foam subsides and color darkens.

Turn off heat. Pour flour into pot. Mix thoroughly and leave until cool enough to handle. Knead dough slightly to combine (do not over knead). Add 1-2 tbs water if dough is crumbly, or 1-2 tsp plain flour if dough is sticky.

Prepare an 8 x 14 in / 20 x 35 cm food grade plastic (not cling wrap; I used a large freezer bag and cut the edges off). Fold plastic down the middle length-wise. Fold length-wise again. The plastic should be around 2 x 14 in / 5 x 35 cm by the time you are done. Unfold plastic.

Work with a small handful of dough at a time. Knead slightly before using. Shape dough into a rough log shape and place in one of the inner rectangle folds of plastic. Fold plastic over dough, following the same lines you worked with previously. Using a rolling pin, roll dough between plastic sheet to an even rectangle around 4 mm thickness.

Fill a piping bag with pineapple jam. Pipe pineapple jam on top of the dough in a straight line length-wise. Roll the dough to cover up the jam completely. The dough will be crumbly, so use the plastic to help roll it. Press down on edges to make sure log is sealed.

At this time, you can add a pineapple pattern across the log with knife indentations. Refrigerate dough for about an hour.

Slice log into 1 1/2 in / 4 cm pieces and arrange on a greased pan.

Combine egg yolk and condensed milk to make an egg wash. Brush pastry with egg wash two times.

Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes until tops are golden brown.

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