Learning To Make Pineapple Tarts
I eat a few pineapple tarts during Chinese New Year, but I know many who conquer them with a YOLO attitude because pineapple tarts are sweet, sinful, and oh-so-divine.
So I was looking forward for my first ever hands-on experience in a baking class with my colleague Amanda, learning the art of making pineapple tarts at the SCS Creative Pineapple Tart Baking Workshop held at Chantilly Culinary Studio. The pineapple tarts that you buy off the shelves are a bit too commonplace and we attempted to switch thing up.
Do not underestimate the importance of butter in pineapple tarts. Without butter, the taste and smell that pineapple tarts are associated can never be attained.Read on to find out how somebody like myself with zero flair in anything associated with the kitchen managed to churn out something edible and non-toxic. My family and colleagues have tried the tarts and I’m thankful they liked it!
My Tart-Making Experience
Simply put, pineapple tart-making is tedious! You'll need some patience to get through the entire process and come out of it with an #achievementunlocked feeling.
Every year I see my mom making pineapple tarts and I think of helping her. Then I’ll scrap the idea because it demands a ridiculous amount of effort. And time. Call me a quitter... NOT! I pulled through this time round although it wasn’t all smooth sailing!
Disclaimer: Amanda and I had it easier as the basic ingredients and tools were prepared for us so we didn’t have to grate the pineapples or weigh the dry ingredients. Cecilia was our baking instructor for the day. In between demonstrating and explaining the steps, she offered tips and answered any questions the participants of the workshop had. For instance, you MUST ensure that your butter is chilled when you work it into the flour, icing sugar, and salt.
Also, it’s perfectly fine to use whole wheat flour instead of plain or cake flour for a healthier pineapple tart! Just make sure the whole wheat flour is at most 25% of your flour mixture and that it’s finely milled.
Cecilia demonstrated the steps first to ensure that we knew what we were doing before we got cracking at our work stations. Butter, butter, butter… it’s not just any butter but creamy, rich SCS butter that has been trusted by many since 1905. Would you have imagined your favourite CNY tarts to have these ingredients in them? We could have added fresh strawberries!
Preparing The Crust
To put our own spin on our tarts, I picked a considerably crazy combination of matcha, chia seeds, almond powder and chopped peanuts for the crust while Amanda chose to work with earl grey tea and dried cranberries.
This is agar-ation at its best! No weighing or taste-testing required - just pour as much as you like into the crust mixture.Here’s my bowl of sifted flour, icing sugar, salt, and ’cubed’ chilled SCS butter. According to the recipe provided by Cecilia, the next step requires us to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture has a texture akin to fine breadcrumbs.
Another option is to put the hand mixer on low speed and let the machine do its thing.Here’s Cecilia showing us the "short-cut" method to getting our dough prepared for the next step. Not exactly similar to fine breadcrumbs but it’ll do. Add an egg yolk into the mixture and knead with your hands. And I thought I could avoid getting my hands dirty if I used the hand mixer in the previous step! The finished dough should look something like this, depending on what you added to the crust.
Using a rolling pin, flatten the rested dough on a piece of fresh cling wrap or flour-dusted table till a thickness of 0.5cm before cutting it into the shape you want. It should now be rested in cling wrap for half an hour.
Preparing the Jam
Being a baking noob, I turned up the induction cooker too high and stirred the grated pineapple too much. Those two mishaps resulted in some nasty charring and I had to scrub the pot to rid it of the burnt bits.
The grated pineapples were only partially prepared for us, so we had to continue simmering it along with sugar and whatever ingredients we selected. That’s Amanda’s pineapple-cranberry-earl grey jam in the pot in the picture above!
Here’s the reason why you should attempt to make your own jam: it is way softer than store-bought ones, so you can simply pipe the jam into your pastry instead of spending hours rolling store-bought jam into little balls! Another bonus: you get to decide what flavour your jam is and you know it’s definitely fresh.
The pineapple jam should be cooled sufficiently before you fill up your piping bags. Snip a small hole at the tip, around 1cm in diameter, and pipe away. The jam on the left is Amanda's while mine's on the right. Mine had a mix of almond powder and chopped peanuts. Queer choice, but no judging guys - what's life without any adventure?How cute are the teddies Cecilia made? They look too adorable to be eaten!
I adore matcha so I had to introduce it somewhere in my tarts! Together with chia seeds, they made my dough look like a green kiwi fruit!
Here’s my attempt at replicating the teddy-shaped pineapple tarts! Super exciting but gruelling because of the fine detailing.
If you thought all the hard work had come to an end, brace yourself for more intense work. You have to cut the dough into the specific shape you want your tarts to take form, spread the egg-wash on the crust (optional), fill the tarts with jam, decorate, and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes at 170 degree Celsius.
Let them cool a little and voila, time to eat the tarts!
Being someone who usually spend a maximum of 10 minutes in the kitchen to prepare and cook a packet of instant noodles, it sounds crazy that I spent a few hours making some quirky, buttery pineapple tarts!
I never knew I can have such fun making use of everyday ingredients to create food like that and tweak it according to my whims. Also, I finally understand why handmade pineapple tarts cost so much more than factory-made ones. The time, effort, and love that go into making these tarts deserve everyone’s respect.
This post was brought to you by SCS Dairy.