I used to really love Chinese New Year as a child. I basked in the reunion dinners, enjoyed collecting ang-pows and delighted in playing sparklers along the corridor with my pseudo-cousins (well, my dad was adopted and we live next-door to my pseudo-uncle's family). It was always fun...until I grew sick of my pseudo-cousins' increasingly overbearing demeanour, and too old to be comfortable accepting ang-pows still. In recent years, mumsie doesn't even want to open our doors for our entire pseudo-relatives anymore. And as a result, I am reduced to hiding in my darkened room with her every day one of CNY when the extended pseudo-family traditionally pops over to visit.
This is predictably...yet another boring CNY holiday for me.
However, I'm happy to say that I managed to sweeten things for myself in another way; I made my own pineapple tarts! I just bought the oven at the start of the year, after wanting to try baking for a long time. My first experiment with cookies did not turn out well, so I was truly surprised my pineapple tarts turned out...quite edible!
In the oven...
Cooling in the tray...
And ta-da! Ready to serve...
It feels great because my nephew loves the tarts I made so much that I had to make this third batch the day before CNY eve. My sister-in-law agreed with me that its better than the nyonya ones my sister bought from Malacca! Haha. I'd have to confess though, that I only made the pastry base and not the jam. I would love to make the jam from scratch but I bought too much off-the-shelf from Phoon Huat for my experiment and I just got to finish it. Since I'm new to baking, I'm just glad the dough didn't end up crumbly and I didn't waste any butter or flour.
Here's the recipe I used for the pastry base; it's pieced from a couple of different recipes:
1. Sift 450g all-purpose flour, 20g skimmed milk powder and 1/2 tsp baking powder together. Full cream milk powder will do too though skimmed is a healthier choice.
2. Put 250g unsalted butter (I used SCS as recommended by the baking shop), 120g icing sugar and 1 egg (beaten together with about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract) in a mixer. Beat well.
3. Add the sifted mixture from step 1 and knead until dough holds together.
4. Clingwrap the dough and chill in the fridge for an hour.
6. Roll out dough to desired thickness (about 0.5cm would be ideal). Press out dough with a cookie cutter and place pineapple filling in centre.
7. Bake at 180 degrees C for about 10 mintues. Glaze with egg white and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and cool the tarts before storing them in air-tight containers.
Hmm, I ain't sure but something seems to be lacking. But it's ok - I am so motivated to improve on the pastry recipe and make my own jam next year! Meanwhile, my next venture would be...cupcakes! :)