When it comes to Chinese New Year snacks, the undisputed popularity champion must go to Pineapple Tarts. Almost every ethnic Chinese person I know likes pineapple tarts – I’d hardly found anyone who dislikes or hates it. And I can understand why – With buttery soft tart bases and moist sweet-sour pineapple jam, pineapple tarts just scream delicious!
Does your family purchase pineapple tarts from suppliers or supermarkets outside, or do your grandmothers, aunts, mothers (and grandfathers, uncles, fathers by all means) make them all at home? I belong to the former and grew up listening to my mother chant “Pineapple tarts are one of the hardest snacks to make”. My mother’s words are definitely not an exaggeration… My greatest respect goes to all who make their own pineapple tarts. Just imagine stirring pineapple jam over the stove over low heat for hours standing, then making a buttery dough so sensitive to touch (butter melts easily when it comes into contact with our human hands), and then finally making enough tubs of them to give away to your relatives (oh those babies, how could you bear to part with them!)
At TummyTroll, we think we’d managed to make a rather legitimate Pineapple Jam. It definitely cannot compare to the commercially available or homemade pineapple jam outside, but for students who live in a country selling small sour pineapples for SGD $4 each, it’s really not a bad attempt we think! Enjoy the short recipe below:
Ingredients for Pineapple Jam
3 medium-sized Pineapples*
250g Caster Sugar
1 Cinnamon Stick
Salt, a dash
*I am not very sure what the variety of pineapple is, actually quite important if you’re seeking to make a top-notch pineapple jam. More on this later!
1. Peel pineapple and cut into small cubes or chunks, retaining even the white core in the center. If you have many pineapples to cut, put the chunks into salted water first to prevent oxidization.
2. Add water and blend with pineapple chunks. Blend until smooth, but no need for a puree. Pineapple fibre is good for pineapple jam! Don’t worry if you added too much water at this step, it won’t matter as you’re reducing the jam later.
3. On a medium-low heat setting, pour blended pineapple into pan. Stir constantly every few minutes to prevent burning at the bottom of the pan. When the blended pineapple has slightly reduced, throw in cinnamon stick and dash of salt.
4. When blended pineapple starts becoming thicker in texture, pour in approximately 1/4 of the sugar, then continue to stir. Continue the process until you’d added all the sugar. Add water if necessary to prevent burning.
5. When the jam becomes very thick and almost un-stirrable like “oatmeal”, turn up to high heat and caramelize the pineapple jam. Stop at the shade you desire – A dark orange hue, light brown, or even dark brown!
Why cinnamon? That was the question I had when I first saw the original recipe. Turns out that the cinnamon doesn’t just flavour the jam, it also helps to preserve it for a longer shelf-life! No need for preservatives in this case then :)
Store in fridge to cool, then pre-roll into little balls to make the process more streamlined when you make the tarts later. Grease your hands with vegetable oil if necessary, it makes the rolling easier! Homemade Pineapple Jam, all ready to go into your tarts!
Note: We followed another food blogger Wendy‘s original recipe here. We strongly recommend you to visit her entry for a very detailed and informative discourse on making pineapple jam (she even teaches you how to choose pineapples, we have zilch knowledge in such areas). Thank you Wendy! :)
Posted by #phangchewfat