"These Nyonya-style pineapple tarts are a favourite in Singapore. My Aunty Topsy makes the best tarts, and she’s very kindly allowed me to share her recipe with you all. Seventy tarts might seem a lot to make in one batch, but please do make them all. They make a great gift. I should know, as I get a box from Aunty Topsy every time she comes to visit." - Adam Liaw.
4 1/2 cups plain flour
2 cups icing sugar mixture
2 cups ground almonds
150 g cold butter
1 cup lard
4 egg yolks, whites reserved for brushing
3 × 440 g tins crushed pineapple in syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
Note: it’s hard to buy pineapple tart cutters outside Singapore, but you can use a cookie cutter instead. The tarts themselves are a popular souvenir to bring home from Singapore, but I think if you’re going to bring someone tarts you may as well bring them a cutter too. You can buy the cutters in Singapore’s Chinatown, and the tarts themselves just about everywhere.
Combine the pineapple, sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture turns golden brown, and the liquid has reduced. Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge until ready to use.
For the pastry, combine the flour, icing sugar mixture, ground almonds, butter and lard in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles= breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon cold water and pulse until a mass forms. Very lightly knead the dough in two batches, then wrap each batch in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat your oven to 180°C.
On a lightly floured board, roll a batch of pastry out to 1 cm thick. Cut out tart shapes, using a pineapple tart cutter or scalloped-edge cookie cutter. A pineapple tart cutter will make the indentation in the centre of the tart for the jam, but if you don’t have one just make the indentation yourself with the back of a measuring tablespoon. Transfer the tart bases to a lined baking tray.
Fill each tart with a teaspoon of pineapple jam; you can roll the jam into a ball if you like.
Roll the leftover pastry into a thin sheet and cut into fine strips. Lay short strips of pastry on top of the jam, to create a cross or lattice pattern (Aunty Topsy makes a cross). Brush with the reserved egg whites.
Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly browned and cooked through. You can bake a few trays at once if you like.
Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling. You can store the tarts in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Credits: This is an edited extract from Destination Flavour by Adam Liaw published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $50 and is available in stores nationally.