Pineapple Tarts for 2011!

By , January 26, 2011 5:08 pm

Just read from the papers that many people are attending classes this year to learn how to make their own new year goodies. I also read that the hot favourite is the pineapple tart. Feeling a wee bit smug that I got a 4year head start hehe

I’m still using the same recipe as the first year  (you can replace the cornflour with plainflour because I learnt that doesn’t make much of a difference), and I forgot this, but I even have my own pineapple tart video which showcases my awkward kitchen moves. (Please don’t judge the pineapple tart by my moves – they really do turn out yummy!!)

With a baby at home this year, it’s slightly difficult to spend an entire day in the kitchen. So, we spread it out into many days and did stuff during her nap times. 

Day 1 : My helper grates 2 fresh honey pineapples and mixes it with two packets of readymade pineapple paste. She stirs it all over a fire til it dries out – about 2hours (I know!!!) The finished product is a paste that has a very authentice homemade flavour and isn’t as sweet as the commercial ones.

Day 2: We roll them into balls like the below and keep it in the fridge. 

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Day 3 (one day before actual baking): Prepare the dough because they have to be refrigerated before use. This year, we made two batches of dough. One is the original pineapple tart dough and the other the jam cookie dough.

Baking Day : 

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I press the dough into a flat sheet about 1/2cm thick and then use a small cookie cutter, which is slightly bigger than a 50ct coin to cut the dough. (I like my tarts bite sized – feel free to use a gingerbread cutter if you are so inclined =p) Then I glaze them with egg yolk before plopping a ball of pineapple paste on top of each one. Before baking, both trays look identical.

After baking, the tarts with the original recipe turned out like this :

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Pretty aren’t they? =D I like how they retained their shapes and look so perfectly baked. I even take the trouble to “dress” them individually :

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The batch with the jam cookie dough turned out like this :

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Not so pretty =( They have expanded in size and are roughly 1.5 times bigger than what I had originally cut out. It made the ball of pineapple look very miserly and they don’t fit into the red wrappers because they are plus sized.

Wasted? Let’s just say they disappeared alot faster than the pretty ones. Everyone loves this cookie dough! They are less crumbly than the original recipe and isn’t the melt in your mouth sort. The original recipe is more the ‘traditional’ melt in your mouth tart. It’s all down to personal preference I guess. I was intending to make more original recipe pineapple tarts but looks like I’ll have to defer to consumers’ preference and make more jam cookie dough tarts.

Tips for the pineapple tarts with the jam cookie dough : Use 20g lesser sugar than required so that you can put more pineapple paste on top and still it wouldn’t taste too sweet. Finding the balance is key here! The pineapple paste should cover 3/4 of the cut out dough (because the dough expands after baking).

Good luck with your tarts!

Jam Cookies

By , January 25, 2011 2:21 pm

Jam is not on my list of favourite foods. It may be because I had to finish up my jam and butter sandwiches every morning when I was young and I was bored with eating the same thing everyday. I wondered how come I couldn’t have more interesting sandwiches like ham and cheese / tuna / egg sandwiches and my grandma would remind me to be grateful I even have breakfast on the table. Some of you would know this all too familiar line : “finish up all the food on your plate because some children have no food to eat” 

On retrospect, I think youth and ungratefulness goes hand in hand =p

Anyway, I only discovered in the last few years just how good jam can taste. With peanut butter on a toast. With a roll. On scones with butter. There are quite a number of ways to have jam and I chanced upon this recipe from an old baking book I bought in Taiwan, for a jam cookie. It is so good I have been asked if I would sell it (to which the answer is no because I have no time). Here’s sharing!

JAM COOKIE

80g confectioners’ sugar (Sift)
30g milk powder (Sift)
60g shortening
80g butter
a pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
200g cake flour / self raising flour(Sift)
1/4 tsp baking powder (Sift)
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp jam (I find NTUC’s raspberry jam ideal for this)

1. Combine confectioners sugar, milk powder, shortening, butter and salt. Beat til soft.
2. Add egg yolks into the batter over 2 times and mix well.
3. Gently fold cake flour and baking powder into the mixture using a rubber spatula.
4. Refrigerate dough for 2hrs.
5. Flour tabletop and roll dough into a long strip. Cut into small pieces and roll into balls then slightly flatten. Press a hole in the middle.
6. Brush with egg yolks and place a little jam in the hole.
7. Bake at 175deg(preheat the oven!) for 18-20mins.

I made this some months back and didn’t take a picture but here’s the picture from the book :

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Tips : 1) Don’t put them too close together to bake because they “grow” quite abit. 2) Don’t be lazy about glazing it – it tastes drier when you skip this step and doesn’t look as pretty (yes, I’m speaking from first hand experience)

This entry is the prelude to my annual pineapple tarts endeavour so look out for the next entry (very soon)!!

Hansang Korean Restaurant

By , January 19, 2011 4:11 pm

I’ve tried a coupla Japanese yakiniku places and decided to give Korean bbqs a try this time round. As with all Korean restaurants, they serve up many plates of appetizers, all of them teasers to the palate.  Since raw meat looks pretty much the same, I thought I’d just get a picture of how the table looked halfway into the meal =)

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I thought the meats alright (depending on cut I guess) and the portion for two persons generous =) I learnt that I prefer vents built into the roaster to prevent the smoke and subsequent odor from clinging to my clothes and hair – this overhead vent wasn’t very efficient at doing that…

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This is Dan’s idea of the perfect meal – a well cooked piece of grilled meat, plain rice and some veges on the side. I like it too so long as I don’t have to do the cooking =p

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We tried their ginseng chicken soup with glutinous rice – it’s a Korean restaurant, right? It was authentic but was a little on the salty side. What I did like about this, was its serving size – half a chicken is more manageable than a whole chicken =)

My quick verdict – I like their ginseng soups, but much prefer Japanese bbq to Korean bbqs.

You can find Hansang Korean Family Restaurant at Square 2 and at Holland Village!

PS: CNY is coming – time for pineapple tarts!!! =D

Home Grub!!

By , January 7, 2011 1:39 pm

I wanted the first food post for 2011 to be special, and I’d say home grub is special because it is yummy, it’s available anytime and because The Man prepares it =)

THE PRE PARTY PLATTER!!

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This explosion of colours is bound to impress any guest =) The biggest plus is that this platter is easily assembled – you just need the ingredients on hand and of course some flair with decorating. It is also a very healthy platter : Tomatoes; strips of carrot, celery and cucumber; cocktail nuts; raisins; cranberries; sliced mushrooms; vegs sprinkled all over; salami and cheese.

On the side, Dan also prepares crackers to go with the cheese and salami (it’s such a wicked combo!). For a bigger group, he usually gets dips (from Cold storage) and nacho chips too.

It’s really nice to sit around this platter and slowly pick everything off it while catching up with friends/family. Dan’s choice of beverage for the platter is red wine/champagne. Yes, he does enjoy his food and wine 🙂

THE BEST TENDERLOIN!!

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I honestly think Dan makes very good steak (Don’t tell him I said so, but I was 3/4 won over during our dating days the first time he prepared me a good steak!) I’m not alone too – everybody who’s tried the beef he prepares thinks so whether it’s panfried/barbequed/roasted. It must be his affinity with steak… or just that he’s had sooooo much of it.

A Fairprice Finest recently opened near our hood so he buys the tenderloin from there and requests for the meat to be cut about an inch thick ($6.70/100gm – way more affordable than eating out!). He prepares a salad on the side Jamie Oliver style (ie: without washing) and drizzles the salad dressing over some leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers and raisins.

Back to the ‘star’ of the dish: As the pan is heating up, Dan seasons one side of the beef with a little salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, he cooks it with a teaspoon of olive oil and waits for the side of the steak to show a 3/4 ‘cooked’ line. He then flips it over and expertly gauges the doneness of the steak to perfection. After he removes the steak from the pan, we wait for 2mins for the meat to ‘settle’ and then drizzle this over :

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$44.90 for 250ml felt very expensive until we saw a 100ml bottle going for $55.90. But it is a very good investment because it makes every dish taste like restaurant takeaway. *slurp*

You might wanna try firing up the stove and impressing your friends/(potential) partner/ family cos Dan will testify that it works!

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