Friday, February 15, 2008

Time flies faster in KK and the Pineapple Tarts recipe

cover cny1

Seriously, I don't feel like I have spent enough time in KK, my hometown, surrounded myself with mum and dad, my aunties, best friends and my parents' friends. The day before I left for Singapore, to spend the Chinese New Year with OCT's family, mum and I tried to recount the stuff we have done for the past 10 days, to recall if we have wasted any seconds.

homecooked dishes

But we couldn't think of anything! We were busy baking, cooking, chatting, eating and meeting up with friends, and watching the TVB series on Astro when the clock struck 8:30p.m! The only reason I could think of, is time flies faster when one is having a good time. I made plans to meet up with more friends and wanted to show OCT some places during his short stay in KK but nothing was materialised. Poor OCT didn't even see the beautiful beaches my hometown is known for! He was flooded by enthuasiastic friends and my extended family with many dinner invites.

mum's homecooked dishes

I am feeling a bit sad that I couldn't spend my new year eve at home, eating the reunion dinner with my folks this year. Reunion dinner on the Chinese New Year eve is a big deal in the eastern culture, and family members, no matter where they are;will usually come back for a sit down feast together. Depending on different dialect groups, the food that are served on the reunion dinner can be quite different. However, most often than not, there will be different dishes that signify good health, longevity and prosperity.

cny snacks21

Mandarin orange/clementines 柑, that sounds like gold in Chinese is a "must have" item during Chinese New Year. There are quite a few varieties, including sweet tangerines but I am no expert in this clementine/mandarin/tangerine business. I would trade the clementine for orange (or better yet-meyer lemon!) anytime. I look uninterested when mum raved about a certain variety of clementines and much less when she bought boxes after boxes of them to give away.


One of the Chinese New Year item that I actually enjoy eating is the steamed brown sugar cake, which is more well known as nian gao 年糕. It is a combination of brown sugar, water and glutinous rice flour being steamed to perfection in a container made of banana leaves. When done right, the final product should have the right amount of sweetness and just a tad of stickness when one bite into it. I love mum's version of nian gao, where she coated the sliced nian gao in egg batter and panfry them to a light golden hue. It was to my disappointment that OCT's family doesn't eat nian gao during Chinese New Year! Instead, different food are served for breakfast on the first day of Chinese New Year. I would have bought some nice nian gao from KK had I known it earlier..

cny snacks1

On top of the homemade cookies we baked, mum also stocked up with some indispensable snacks we love to eat during Chinese New Year. Among them are a certain well-known Hong Kong brand almond cookies that melt-in-your-mouth and egg rolls. Of course, Chinese New Year will not be complete without the prawn crackers. A snack that even the most resolved dieter couldn't resist a second helping.

cny 11

And now, without further ado, is the recipe for the pineapple rolls/tarts many of you have requested. I like how buttery the rolls turned out and believe the use of a better quality butter does make a difference. As for the filling, we are using the ready-made variety comes from Thailand instead of sweating over the real stuff. Usually,we stick with whichever supplier we have tried instead of switching from one to another. When in US, I used the canned crushed pineapple, drained and cooked down to the desired consistency, with sugar to taste.

pineapple tarts for blog

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/180ºC for 10 to 15 minutes or till lightly brown.

cny greet card11


Manggy said...

Aww, Mandy.. I'm sure your parents appreciated the short time you were able to spend with them, even if it wasn't at the reunion dinner..
I love all your pics. Everything looks so good! Thanks also for the recipe! With two versions of the filling, I'm impressed! :)

Finla said...

It is true when you are saying time flies when you are having a good time. When i go back to visit my mom and sister days are just flying.
Lookes like you had a great time for the Newyear.

Anonymous said...

Yes! I've been waiting for this recipe - thank you so much for sharing it! Must try it before our sweet summer pineapples disappear for autumn!

Kajal@aapplemint said...

Mandy , all these lovely food pictures just make me jealous of all the wonderful times u've had with your family.These shots ate truly festive and ceremonious.

BTW i've added you on my blogroll.

Anonymous said...

I love pan fried nian gao too but mum always restrict us from eating too much as are heaty.:(

I must say I love your photographs. It makes everything looks so appealing. Yummy!

Unknown said...

CNY is awesome in Malaysia. Sad that I didn't go home to celebrate the festivities. Sigh. Show us some pictures of KK and the famous seafood. ;)

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

Your photos are so amazing... so colorful. The food looks so vibrant too. I love your blog!

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

i wanted to meet up with u but reckoned u wouldn't have the time...hey, ur pics are beautiful!i really like the colors. what camera is this again?? but of course the photographer is doing a great job :)

Stardust said...

Hi Mandy,

I've just gone back to Sg for CNY celebration. It is terribly blue to leave again. Understand your feeling about not being able to join in for the reunion dinner. Try catching it next year, alright?
I shall definitely try your pineapple recipe!!! I've brought too little pineapple tarts back from Sg, so I think there's a crave to subdue later. May come back to you again for more baking advice, as I am truly a novice baker.

BTW, hope you've got my mail addressed by ' Julia '.

-Berenice- said...

Your blog is amazing! Thanks for putting up the pineapple tart recipe using canned crushed pineapples (it's so hard to get fresh pineapples here in Australia!). Will definitely try it out soon. :)

Piggy said...

oh, you're from KK! I've been there once and i love it! I'm thinking of going back again. ;-)

love the pics of the food and flowers... so colorful!!

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures! I am sure you had a wonderful time in KK!

Mandy said...

thanks Manggy. You are always so sweet!

happy cook,
I certainly did!

Good luck with the pineapple rolls.

thanks for the link!

hey, I didn't know that it's heaty! Are you sure?

Bee Yinn,
I wish I could. But I didn't take any scenery shots in KK! :(

aran goyoaga,
thanks!I am glad you like what you have seen here.

hey, I was thinking of meeting up with you too! But time was really short this time. Will definitely arrange a meet up when I come home next year. :)
I am using a Pentax k100d btw.

thanks for the email. I just received it. Need sometime to go through your questions though.

wow~ you have been to KK! I wish I could visit Penang one day. :)

thanks!Time spend with family is always the best.

LianneK said...

Gong Hei Fatt Choy Mandy, hope not too late to wish you. Yeah, its true that time flies when you're enjoying precious time with love ones.

Love your recipe and pictures! They all turned out elegant yet festive.

Little Corner of Mine said...

So festive looking with all the yummilicious food and snack. I like!!

tigerfish said...

Time is never enough when I do home visit. My one-week CNY in S'pore just zoomed past in a flash!

Anonymous said...

Your pictures make me wish the lunar new year extended for another month! The photographs are fabulous! I want to bite into my computer screen!

Ladybird said...

Hi, thanks so much for your pineapple tart recipe! I've been looking for this recipe for a long time.

Thanks again. :)

Unknown said...

Wow, I just stumbled across this post and you took me right back to my childhood! I too am from KK, left there in the late '80s (and miss the food there like crazy!). I had long forgotten about nian gao. My mom made it the same way as yours, with the egg. Sooo good! Great blog. I love to bake as well so this is bookmarked now. Thanks!

Kristie said...

Hi Mandy,

I would love to try out this pineapple tart recipe soon, if successful then i will make more for cny next year :)

btw, when u make the pastry, u beat butter/yolks and then flour, all using normal hand whisk or use the dough hook?

Thanks :)

Mandy said...

I use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. :)

Anonymous said...

Tks, Mandy for your great pineapple tarts recipe. I had tried so many recipe but could not quite get it right. But yours, I successfully make 2 batches & my family love them & commented that I finally got it right. I made 1 batch using flower-shaped cutter & the other batch wrapped up with paste inside.

This coming CNY, my family want me to make more for them. Once again, many thanks to your generosity for sharing great recipe.

May said...

Hi Mandy,
Just wondering is it possible to substitute the plain flain with cake flour? If yes, then should I use 375g cake flour and omit the cornstarch or is there another way? Thanks.

Unknown said...

Hi Mandy!

I would just like to find out a few things.

1. how many tarts does this recipe make?
2. how long is preparation time?
3. If i want to use pineapples paste from poon huat is it possible?

Thank you for sharing this recipe!:)

Mandy said...


I have not tried using cake flour in cookies. I think it will make a different in the final texture. so it's better to use plain flour.

It depends on the size of your tarts. I make about 85-90 tarts. (if I remember correctly)
Preparation time?'s quite time consuming. Perhaps 2-3 hours.
Yes, you can definitely use the store bought pineapple paste!

Edda said...

I found ur recipe thru Rasa Malaysia. i just want you to know that i tried this recipe and almost cried eating it (and i m not even exaggerating).

I have not had this since i left brunei in 2001. I just tried a piece and decided to post a note here to thank you for this awesome recipe!

Sharon said...

I came across your blog when I was looking for pineapple tart recipes. Is it possible to replace the unsalted butter and salt with salted butter instead?

Mandy said...

yes Sharon, you can definitely use the salted butter. just leave the salt in the original recipe out! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mandy,

I made this recipe and my family, friends and I like it a lot! (:

Thanks for sharing the recipe!


Unknown said...

Looks beautiful! I want to try this recipe this CNY as it is harder to get pineapple tarts in Australia! I would like to ask how many grams are in the tins of pineapple that you used? Thanks!

ahbee said...

hi, can i check with you, all purpose flour, is it plain flour ?
Thanks... for sharing ...

ahbee said...

can i use plain flour instead of all purpose flour ? Thanks for sharing... will try out....

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