Sunday, February 28, 2010

On the 15th day of Chinese New Year

In case you wonder, I haven't abandoned this blog! I am STILL here! Just want to take this opportunity to drop in to wish everyone who celebrate Chinese New Year a happy "Chap Goh Meh"

Walking around Chinatown

In the long gap between the last post and this post, I have been busy learning, adapting and working in a pastry kitchen, inside a 5 stars hotel, whose name should not be mentioned. :) All the major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year had been spent plating and serving the restaurant patrons. Not that I am complaining, since the chefs and cooks have been really nice to me. I usually get a taste of the special menu when the madness dies down.

cny 2010

February is a considerably slow month for the business, which is not a bad thing! That is how I got the approval of a 3 weeks vacation (non-paid, of course) to go back to Asia, just in time for Chinese New Year!

In the three short weeks, not only did we visit my family in KK and OCT's in Singapore,we also made a trip down to Kuala Lumpur to meet my aunt and cousins families. I feel really blessed and happy to see them after so many years.

cny 2010

Because of the itinerary of this trip, I had less time in Singapore and KK. We spent most time hanging out with our families and only managed to catch up with some friends. As far as baking goes, I made a few batches of pineapple tarts with mum, and tried out some new recipes which were complete waste of our money and time. I am not sure if it's the butter or flour or oven, some recipes that worked well in US just didn't work in Malaysia.

pineapple tarts

This pineapple tarts recipe is the only one that we can count on years after years. I know many of you have tried the recipe and liked it too. It warms my heart everytime I receive notes about your experimentation with this recipe. Especially those of you who can't make it home for Chinese New Year. I hope this offers you a taste of home and a little comfort.

And here's wishing everyone good health, happiness and success in the year of Tiger!

Pineapple Rolls/Tarts

for the pastry:
220g unsalted butter, at room temperature
375g all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
50g confectioners' sugar/icing sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg yolk, for egg wash

for the pineapple filling (from scratch):
250g grated pineapple
150g sugar (or to taste)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2-1 teaspoon cornstarch

for the pineapple filling (from canned crushed pineapple)
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup granulated sugar (or more to taste)
1-1.5 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

To prepare the pineapple filling,
(from scratch):
Bring to a boil grated pineapple, sugar and lemon juice. Let it simmer for 30 minutes or until it thickens.Taste to see if it has achieved the desired sweetness. Add more sugar when necessary. Sieve in half a teaspoon of cornflour.

Let the pineapple filling cool to room temperature before using. It can also be kept in refrigerator for 1 week.

Pineapple filling from canned crushed pineapple:
Using low to medium heat, cook the drained crushed pineapple and sugar until most liquid has evaporated, and the mixture turned golden. Stirring constantly using a wooden spoon to avoid burning. Taste, and add more sugar when needed. Add in 1 to 1.5teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken the mixture.

Let cool to room temperature before using.

For the pastry:
Sieve all purpose flour, corn flour, salt and icing sugar into a medium bowl. Beat butter in a mixer until it turns light in color and fluffy.Add in egg yolks until well combined. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until just combined.

To assemble:
Roll pineapple filling into small individual rounds. Turn dough out and roll into small rounds.Flatten the rounds and use it to cover the prepared filling.

Brush the unbaked rolls with egg wash.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180ÂșC for 10 to 15 minutes or till lightly brown. (it takes longer when I baked it this CNY, about 20-25mins)To check for doneness, turn one over to check the bottom. When it's done, the bottom should be brown.

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