Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's time for CNY baking again! :)



Christmas & New Year are just over, and Chinese New Year is around the corner. Have you started your CNY bakes? I started my first bake this year with pineapple tarts. We spent Christmas in Hong Kong and I had been lethargic since then. By the way, I won't suggest you to go to Hong Kong during Christmas, it was way too crowded. Ended up we did not visit many places. But the Disneyland is nice, all of us had fun :)

I was just pondering when I should start baking, then just a day after that, I went straight to NTUC to get pineapples, and started making pineapple jam myself! Having read up a few pineapple jam recipes, I decided to follow these - Delicious Asian Food, Table for 2..... or more and My Cooking Hut. Many thanks to them for sharing their recipes :)

There are so many recipes out there. I did a research last year, and I think I followed DAF's recipe, using pineapple in a canned as an experiment last year. This year, I gathered enough courage to cut the pineapples myself. Honestly, I don't think I had ever peel and cut a pineapple in my whole life until now. Table for 2..... or more's recipe is very helpful, as she put up step-by-step photos and useful tips. Do hop over and read them. There are other sites or videos on YouTube which will demonstrate how to remove the "eyes" of the pineapple. I learned a new skill :)

As usual, there was stumbles along the way as I made the jam :p I spent like 2 hours near the stove. I wasn't sure how "big" or "small" the fire should be. And having read that the jam will splatter and may burn one's hand made me very cautious in "approaching" the pot. I used slow fire for the first 45 mins or so, but realized that the jam was still in a fairly watery stage. Thus, I turned up the fire to medium, and there was little splatter and the jam got dried up faster. Still, after close to 2 hours, the jam was drier than before, but still quite wet. I gave up and turned off the fire. After keeping the paste in the fridge overnight, the jam was still fairly soft. I could roll the jam but with difficulty forming a ball. So I guess the lesson learned is: use medium fire all throughout.

I will attempt to list out the steps I took, incorporating from my encounter, please "use with discretion" :D

Ingredients for the jam:
1. Two fresh S&W pineapples
2. 100g castor sugar (seems little? I know, but the pineapples were very sweet already)
3. 1 tbsp lemon juice
4. A few dashes of cinnamon powder

Steps followed:
1. Cut the top and bottom of the pineapple and discard. Remove the skin of the pineapple and discard.
2. Slice pineapple into four. Remove the "eyes" and discard the core (as I read that the texture of the core may not be that nice). Then, cut the pineapple into small pieces.
3. Put pineapples into the chopper and pulse for 10-20 seconds.
4. Pour the pineapples into a strainer and let the juice drain off for 3-5mins.
5. Remove the pineapples and pour into a pan or pot (I used the Happycall pot, which is non-stick and fairly dense) with a heavy base.
6. Let pineapples cook over medium fire. When the pineapple juice reduces a little, add sugar into the pot. Stir every 5 mins.
7. When the jam thickens to the consistency you want, turn the fire off.

These are very brief steps, I wished I could make it more detailed, but as my jam was a bit watery, I think you may want to control the fire depending on the situation. For the juice, I drank it! :)

For the tart recipe, I followed the recipe from Small Small Baker. I used the same recipe last year too. Thanks again SSB :) The result is a nice melt-in-the-mouth cookie.

As the pineapple jam was too soft, I was not able to wrap it inside the tart dough. So in impromptu, I used a cookie cutter to cut the cookies and made open pineapple tarts instead. The soft jam is suitable for making open tarts as the jam was not too dry after baking.

I made these on Sunday, and the tarts still look good today. But because of the low sugar content in the jam, I doubt they can be kept very long. I think I will make more nearer to CNY as I rather put less sugar.

The verdict from my hubby (the most fussy one at home :D) is "好吃不好看“, which means they taste good but they look ugly :) I only listen to good things so I am happy with  好吃, haha :D

Happy CNY baking! :)

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