What do you do when your BFF asks you to bake and send over some pineapple tarts…way over to the USA? Well, what I did was … went to buy 5 huge pineapples from the market, peeled and chopped them and cooked them into a thick sticky jam. When my BFF, Xara asked me “how do you cook pineapple jam”… that was exactly what I told her and she exclaimed “Really, that’s all??”. Yep…it’s as easy as that. Just add some sugar to balance out the tartness and sourness and cook it over a slow fire. Of course I didn’t mention to Xara that it takes a lot of patience to do this because pineapple jam needs to be cooked and stirred for quite a long time in order for it to thicken and the sugar to caramelize to a lovely golden colour.
Some people add in cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise into the jam for added spicy aromas but for me, I prefer pure unadulterated pineapple. So, none of those spices for me, no… not in my pineapple jam! And apparently, Xara likes it that way too. Great.
If you like your pineapple jam to be smooth and creamy, blend the fruit finely and strain off some of the juice before cooking it. That way, you get a jam that’s free from fibre. Personally I prefer the jam to have a bit more bite, so I use the “chopping” mode on the food processor and make sure the pineapple doesn’t get blended finely. Alternatively, grate it coarsely and that will work too.
As for the pastry, there are so many recipes available in cookbooks and the internet. If you’re looking for traditional or in-depth instruction, check out PastrySchools.net. I tried out Amy Beh’s recipe this time round. The pastry turns out to be very fine and crumbly. A bit too crumbly (you really gotta handle those tarts very gently!) …hmmm, I need to fine-tune it a bit to strengthen its structure and enhance the crunchiness without compromising its taste and flavour.
I love tweaking recipes to improve them… I’m so looking forward to baking the next batch. Hey Xara, wanna be my guinea pig for Pineapple Tarts 2.0? 😛