Small Appetite Foodie’s Apple Pie

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INTRODUCTION

Being a business analyst before I become a food blogger, I like to do research if times permit. Therefore, readers who read my blog may be wondering why I like to quote Wikipedia’s definition. Seriously, I like Wikipedia’s concise definition on the food that I blogged about and at times I will use it as a benchmark against the food that I made. The same applies for today’s pastry, apple pie.

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Per Wikipedia’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_pie,

“An apple pie is a fruit pie (or tart) in which the principal filling ingredient is apples. It is sometimes served with whipped cream or ice cream on top, or alongside cheddar cheese. Pastry is generally used top-and-bottom, making it a double-crust pie, the upper crust of which may be a circular shaped crust or a pastry lattice woven of strips; exceptions are deep-dish apple pie with a top crust only, and open-face Tarte Tatin.”

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I have made an apple pie yesterday. When I was chatting with a friend in Google plus about my red dragon fruit cheesecake, he was asking me if I know how to make an apple pie. I told him that I have not prepared before as apples are rather expensive. Unlike Western countries, most apples were imported from temperate countries. However, I have tasted apple pies before and it should not be a big problem for me to replicate the apple pie that I have eaten before.

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Actually, the apple pie that I am most familiar with are those sold in McDonalds. However, those pies were deep fried and what I am going to share in this post is the modified version of baked apple pie to suit Asian Foodies’ smaller appetite for sweet desserts… Pardon me if I am wrong..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Dough – make one 8 inch pie without  top pastry

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  • 35 grams egg (lightly beaten)

  • 150 grams plain flour (sifted)

  • 30 grams of icing sugar (sifted)

  • 75 grams of chilled butter cut into cubes

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Note: If you want to cover the entire pie with top pastry, you will have to multiply by 1.5 times the above volume. The above volume did not intend to have a upper pie crust like American style apple pie.

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Apple Fillings

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  • 4 large apples (de-skin, pitted and cut into 0.5 cm slices)

  • half cup of brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder

Note:

  • Selection of apples – Apples selected shall be those that are crunchy in texture such as Fuji Apple or Granny’s green apple.

  • Quantity of apples – The apples stated here are for the preparation of a flat thin pie of about 1.5 cm height. If you like the American version of apple pie, you may want to consider to increase your apples to at least 6 large apples (or even 8 depending on how deep your baking glass dish can take)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put butter cubes and sifted plain flour together. Use the finger tips to rub the butter cubes and flours together until it become crumby. Add in sifted icing sugars and continue to rub until well mix.

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  • Add lightly beaten eggs and vanilla essence, mix slowly until it become a dough. Put it in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes. Note that if you are able to handle soft dough, you can by pass this step.

  • Have a clinging wrap on the table, take the dough from the fridge and place on top of it. Put another clinging wrap on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat sheet with about 0.5 cm thickness. Transfer the dough to the pie tin and use you hand to press the dough against the sides and make it as even as possible. Use a fork to make some holes in the dough (optional). Set aside for later use. If you have some left over dough, just keep it to put on top of the apple fillings.

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  • In another big mixing bowl, add the sugar and spices to the apple slices. Mix well and pour on top of the pie pastry.  Level it. If you have additional pastry left from the making of bottom pastry, your can put on top of the apple fillings.

Note: If you have opt to cover the apple pie with top pastry, cover the pastry on top the apple and make some hole to the let the water vapour escape when the apple is cooked.

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  • Bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for about 25-30 minutes or when the pie crust turn golden yellow. (Note that this is a thin pie therefore, cooking time is relatively short). Egg wash the top pastry if desired.

  • Can be served either hot or cold with sour cream, ice cream or even custards.

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CONCLUSIONS

There are many variations of apple pies. Some have top pastry like the American style version. It were usually prepared using a deep glass dish. Some are without top pastry but substituted with bread crumbles and rolled oats as in the Swedish version of apple pies. The French have another version called Tarte Tatin.

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Knowing Asian’s small appetite for Western desserts, I have prepared this pie in a form of thin slice. Both pastry and apple filling are rather thin as compared to the Western version. And if the diner is of big appetite, he can just opt to have 2 slices at the same time……

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GUAI SHU SHU | Guai Shu Shu is a “shu shu” that is “guai”….


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

 

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How Do You Do? I Missed You, My Dear Friend! – Traditional Coconut Tarts (椰子塔)

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INTRODUCTION

Coconut tart, a childhood snack that I really missed. Since I started blogging, I have never prepared this tropical coconut tart.. In fact, I have not eaten these tarts for years even though Singapore traditional bakery shops still have this pastry item in their shelf.

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I like the tarts for its aromatic shredded coconuts and the crispy tart shell. When I baked the tarts, the house was full of coconut aroma and I definitely wouldn’t regret making these tarts. In fact, I have finished the tarts and do not have any extra to give it to my neighbours.. Which is rather unusual.

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I do not think I need to explain more, it is just a tart with nice aromatic shredded coconut in it. The tart shell is crispy and yet the coconut filling is moist and I have to thank Aunty Yochana for sharing her recipe in one of her 2006 posts. 

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WHAT IS NEEDED

Recipe Adapted from : Aunty Yochana’s Coconut Tarts

Dough (Make about 6 big tarts)

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  • 25 grams egg (lightly beaten)

  • 100 grams plain flour (sifted)

  • 20 grams of icing sugar (sifted)

  • 50 grams of chilled butter cut into cubes

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

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Coconut Fillings 

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  • 200 grams shredded coconuts

  • 75 grams butter (melted)

  • 100 grams castor sugar

  • 2 eggs 

  • 1 tablespoon of condensed milk

  • 3 tablespoons of water

  • Yellow colouring (optional). This illustration does not use yellow colouring.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing The Tart Shells

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put butter cubes and sifted plain flour together. Use the finger tips to rub the butter cubes and flours together until it become crumby. Add in sifted icing sugars and continue to rub until well mix.

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  • Add lightly beaten eggs and vanilla essence, mix slowly until it become a dough.

  • Put it in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes. Note that if you are able to handle soft dough, you can by pass this step.

  • Take the dough from the fridge and use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat sheet with about 0.5 cm thickness.

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  • Use a round cutter to cut about the size of the mould.  Note that this step is optional and will help you to roughly gauge the amount of dough required and you still need to adjust the quantity of dough as you progress.  Use your hand to press the dough against the sides and make it as even as possible.

  • Use a knife or anything sharp to cut off the sides. Use a fork to make some holes to let any trapped air to escape. Set aside for later use.

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If you have extra dough, you can just use this dough to prepare additional tarts shell, bake and keep it for other tarts such as egg tarts or quiche.

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Preparing the coconut fillings

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  • In a big mixing bowl, mix all ingredients using a spoon or spatula until well mixed.


Assembling the tarts and baking the tarts

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  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

  • Scope the fillings into the tarts and bake in the oven’s lower shelf. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the tart shells become golden brown.

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CONCLUSION

Personally, I like these tarts very much. It is really a sweet indulgence and can be addictive when I take the first bite. This is the traditional version without any alteration.

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As my tart moulds are slightly higher than the commercially sold coconuts tarts, I managed to make 6 big tarts. However, they are very moist in the middle but the tart shells are extremely crispy. Handling the tart shells’ dough have to be as light and as fast as possible such that the pastries will melt in your mouth.

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Hope that readers can try to make these tropical tarts.. I said in my Facebook timeline that I am just like a pregnant woman who constantly craved for childhood and traditional foods… Shall these foods be marginalized by the influx of foreign cuisines?

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Have a nice day and cheers.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Is Pavlova Originated From Australia, Russia or New Zealand?–Strawberry and Blueberry Pavlova

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INTRODUCTION

Yesterday is really a busy day for me. I have been making mayonnaise, baking pizza and this Pavlova. By the time  I have to take picture of this Pavlova, I was feeling extremely tired and after I ate one slice and kept 3 slices for other families members, I gave away the rest to my neighbour who were having some sort of house gathering. I hoped I have adequate pictures to share with readers.

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Pavlova actually sounds familiar to me. Just like Vladimir, Sergei, Liana and Nathasia, the name sounds so Russian. I have spent some times in Russian before and one of my ex-colleagues do carry the name Pavlova. In fact, I do not know it is the name of one of the famous desserts until very recently when I did a read up on meringue, macaroons and other egg whites based pastry items.

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WHAT IS PAVLOVA?

Per Wikipedia:

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. It is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source.

The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. It is a dessert most identified with the summer time, but is eaten all year round in many Australian and New Zealand homes.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlova_(food))

Meringue based dessert will mean this dessert only utilizes egg whites and some sugar. It is not really a common dessert in Singapore and Malaysia. The challenge is to prepare a Pavlova that had a crispy outside of soft cotton liked inside. Preparation is not really that tough but patience is needed in the baking of this simple meringue.

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WHAT IS NEEDED

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  • 4 egg whites (at room temperature)

  • 1 1/4 cups of icing sugar or castor sugar

  • 2 teaspoon of potatoes starch/corn starch

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • Fresh fruits of your choice. In this illustration, I have used fresh strawberry and blueberry.

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Note:

  • The egg whites have to be at room temperature. Colder egg whites are more difficult to beat to peak condition.

  • I have substituted the castor sugar with icing sugar as it will be easier for it to dissolve in the egg whites. If it is difficult for you to get icing sugar, just blend the castor sugar using a food processor.

  • Usually, corn starch is used. However, as I did not have corn starch with me, I have used potatoes starch. By the same logic, sweet potatoes starch and tapioca starch can also be used. What is needed is a small quantity of flour that is light and smooth to help holding the Pavlova structure.


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a baking tray. have a piece of baking/parchment paper. Use a 8” round baking tin and draw a big circle on the baking sheet. Set aside for later use.

  • In a mixing bowl, Add egg white and beat until soft peak form. Add in icing sugar spoon by spoon and continue to beat until the egg white is thick and glossy.

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  • To check if all sugars have been dissolved, rub a bit of the beaten egg whites (meringues) between the thumb and index fingers. If it is smooth, it means that the sugars have been dissolved. If it feels sandy, it means that the sugar has yet to be dissolved. Continue beating for another 1-2 minutes and test again.

  • Add in vanilla essence and continue beating until it is well mixed.

  • Off the machine if the meringue is glossy and in its stiff peak form. Stiff peak form means when you hold up the beater, the meringue can point upwards as shown in picture number 4.

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  • Take out the mixing bowl. Add/sprinkled the lemon juices. Sift in the potatoes/corn flours.

  • Use a spatula to fold in the flour and lemon juice quickly. Handle lightly until all the lemon juice and flour are well mixed.

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  • Place the meringue on top of the baking paper within the circle drawn. Smoothing the edges.

  • Baked in the oven at low temperature of 130 degree Celsius for about 60-90 minutes or until the outer crust are dry and pale cream colour.

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  • IMPORTANT: Leave the Pavlova inside the oven with the door ajar and let it cool inside the oven until it is completely cool. It is generally okay if the middle part of the Pavlova collapsed as we will be decorating with whipped cream.

  • PRIOR TO SERVING, beat about 200 ml of whipping cream until top peak and placed on top of the Pavlova. Place your fresh fruits on top of the Pavlova.

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CONCLUSION

Pavlova is good to be served as a dessert. It’s sweet crusty tops and sides goes well with most fruits. One can also consider using fruits such as Kiwi and mangos. The Pavlova can be prepared in advance and keep for 3-4 days in an air tight container. Of course, the size of Pavlova have to be reduced accordingly for it to store in the container. It can also be made into a one bite size.

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If you are health conscious, you can substitute the whipped cream to low fat whipped cream and slightly reduce the amount of icing sugar used. Remember whipped cream and fruit toppings shall only be used prior to serving as the whipped cream and fruit juices will make the meringue soggy if not consume on time.

Hope you like the post today and have a nice day. Cheers.

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One, Two, Three…….Let’s Start Making Traditional Short Bread Biscuits (英式传统牛油饼干)

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INTRODUCTION

I have mentioned before that my family members like buttery biscuits or cakes. Butter cake without any flavour will definitely top my list of cakes whereas short bread will be my preferred choice of biscuits. Short bread is crumbly in textures and full of buttery aroma and it is addictive as long as I started the first bite.

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When I was searching for short crust pastry for my “short crust pastry moon cake” post, I remember wrongly and instead I searched for short bread. When I read the definition of Wikipedia, it immediately caught my attention.

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Per Wikipedia, it was written that

Shortbread is a type of biscuit (“cookie” in American English) which is traditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour (by weight). The use of plain white (wheat) flour is common today, and other ingredients like ground rice or corn flour are sometimes added to alter the texture. Also, modern recipes often deviate from the pure three ingredients by splitting the sugar portion into equal parts granulated sugar and powdered sugar and many further add a portion of salt. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortbread)

I was amazed by the simple ratio of one part white sugar, two parts butter and three parts of flour. I did not look around for any further recipe and based on these three figures, I prepared my traditional style short bread.

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This is my first attempt and I am generally happy with the results though the shaping still needs improvement. I may try out other recipes in the net and compared the actual differences and what other special ingredients that were added to alter the texture.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 50 g of icing sugar

  • 100 g of butter

  • 150 g of plain flour

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

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STEPS OF PREAPRATION

Preparation

  • Preheat your oven to 180  165 degree Celsius.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, place cut butters, vanilla essence, icing sugar, plain flours. Mix and knead until it form a dough.

  • Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a flat sheet of about 1 cm thick.

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  • Shape it into a rectangular shape and use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1 cm x 4 cm sizes

  • Transfer to the baking tray with a sheet of baking paper. Place the short breads with adequate space to expand.

  • Use a fork or something sharp to make some holes on top of the short breads.

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  • Baked in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the colour start to turn golden yellow.

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Additional notes

You can chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes before your baking starts. This will help to fix the shape of short bread! This illustration did not include the chilling. Due to the hot temperature in Singapore, The butter melts rather easily therefore chilling will hep to keep the biscuit in shape when you send for baking.

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CONCLUSION

A very short and straight forward post. I like this for its simple easy to remember recipe. This recipe is simply based on the traditional ratio of 1 sugar, 2 butter and 3 flour without additions of texture altering ingredients. The taste and texture is awesome except the shape is not as regular as what we bought from the stores.  It will be an ideal gift for your friends during festive occasions such as Christmas.

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Overall, I am still very pleased with this adventure. It is so simple yet we pay so much for these biscuits in the supermarkets.

Try and you will know how easy it is. Hope you like the post today and have a nice day ahead. Cheers.


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Second batch of short bread made for the celebration of Teacher’s day 2013.

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Updated on 8 – January 2014

Baking this special batch of rose decorated shortbread biscuits. Recipe is the same except I cut it in difference shape and dust it with dried rose petals.

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This recipe was included in Page 18 and Page 19 of the following E-book. 

For more Chinese New Year related cookies, snack and steamed cake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy Chinese New Year Recipes – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD3.50. The recipes covered various recipes from auspicious radish cake to nian gao to traditional kuih bangkit to trendy London almond cookies. Of course not forgetting both type of pineapple tarts. You can purchase by clicking the link above. You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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Can I Have A Moon Cake That Is Not Round? Hmmm.. Try Short Crust Pastry Moon Cake

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Chinese Mooncake Festival or Mid Autumn Festival is arriving soon on 19-9-2013 (or Chinese Lunar Calendar August 15) and I think most bloggers will blog about moon cakes. There are many many moon cake recipes in the internet and there is no way for me to blog something that I am rather unfamiliar due to my poor shaping skills of moon cakes .

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This year I have a few attempts to shape the moon cake but not really successful. It cracked terribly and I have told members in my Facebook Group“Food Bloggers and Foodies United” that I am not going to issue a post on moon cake I totally do not have any confidence to share with readers about the making of moon cakes.

The next day after I issued the post, one of my relatives gave us a pack of moon cake from Kluang, Johor Malaysia. In the box, it was written clearly Shanghai Moon Cake, and what shocked me is that the shape is elongated and some called it a mouse shape.

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Sorry for my limited knowledge, I never seen Shanghai moon cake in this shape. I posted in my timeline and asked my friends what is that. Surprisingly a number of friends from Southern Peninsular Malaysia knew about this shop and ever tasted this special moon cake before.

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The next day, I cut it and ate a slice, I felt that the taste was very familiar. It resembles the short crust biscuits with the normal moon cake fillings. Therefore, I told my friends that I wanted to pursue another baking adventure based on what I tasted and I wanted to try to “reproduce” the moon cake that I received.

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That morning, there is no body in my house except myself. I just simply pick a short crust pastry recipe and start my adventures. Actually, the short crust pastry resembles the pineapples tart pastry. However, in this illustration, I made a mistake by including sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in the dough. I shouldn’t need to include this as the fillings will expand when heated and the baking soda make the crack bigger that I do not want to see.

Putting that aside,  I would say that this pastry, or pardon me formally called it “SHORT CRUST PASTRY MOONCAKE” , is definitely worth trying. The soft filling blends extremely well with the melt in the mouth pastry wrapping it. Unlike other moon cake,  it is buttery in flavour and that make me wanted to share with readers this “funny” pastry aims at those who are adventurous to try out new ideas.

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But I have to highlight that, it is just like any pastry, it can’t keep for long. It is best to consume it within two to three days of making it. The wet fillings will make the short crust slightly soggy if you do not consume on time. Well, that is my frankest opinion and I do hope that readers have some confidences on me by baking this short crust pastry moon cake and share with me if it is up to your expectations.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 80 grams of salted butter, cut into cubes and keep in fridge waiting for later use.

  • 2 eggs lightly beaten

  • 400 grams of self raising flour (sifted)

  • 80 grams of sugar powder

  • 600 grams of moon cake fillings of your choice (in this illustration, I have used both the green tea paste and red bean paste).

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Pre Preparation

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree.

  • Get ready a baking tray with a piece of baking sheet.

  • Divide the moon cake fillings into 3 portions and roll it into an cylindrical shape of about 6 inches long.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put in your sifted self raising flour, sugar powder. Add the butter cubes from the fridge. Use finger tips to lightly rub the butter until butter and flour are well mixed resembling crumbs. Rubbing should be light and fast. This resembles the preparation of scones and your can refer HERE.

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  • Make a whole in the centre put in the beaten eggs.

  • Use a fork or a knife to slightly mix the batter. Once the eggs and the flour have form a dough, transfer the dough to a table and knead for 1-2 minutes to ensure it is well mixed.

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  • Divide the dough into 3 portions. In my illustration, my dough weighed about 220 grams per portion.

  • Use a rolling pin to roll the dough in a floured surface into rectangular shape of about 10 inches x 5 inches.

  • Place your moon cake filling on top of the pastry, close the longer ends and roll follow the shape of the fillings.

  • Close the other two ends and ensure the edges are closed.

  • You can reshape to any shape that you want. However, I have opted to use the shape as shown above. Alternative shape is round shape. However, round shape is difficult for serving. So I opted for the oblong shape.

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  • Place the dough in the baking tray. Use a sharp knife to lightly cut lines on top of the dough.

  • Have the first egg wash and send to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

  • After 15 minutes, take out and have a second egg wash. Baked for another minutes 10 and the moon cake is done.

  • For egg wash, hand beaten 1 egg yolks and add 2 big table spoons of water and 2 drops of oil. Sift and put in a container. Use a brush to lightly brush the dough.

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CONCLUSION

This is another way of serving the moon cake though traditionally, moon cake must be round resemble the moon. Whether this can be called moon cake or other name is up the discretion of the readers.

This moon cake was prepared using short crust pastries and the buttery taste of the pastry is totally different from traditional moon cake but it blends well with the traditional moon cake fillings. It is good to be served as a tea time snack item.

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I hope you enjoy my baking adventures for making this special shape moon cake inspired from the famous Kluang moon cake shop in Malaysia.

This recipe was included in Page 15-17 of the “Easy Mooncake Recipes E-book”. For more mooncake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy mooncake recipes  – A step by step guide” that was packed with 20 recipes, 45 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD4.00. The recipes covered various recipes from durian mooncake, traditional baked mooncake and also the less common Teochew mooncake . You can purchase by clicking the link above.You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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Hope you like the post today and do join me in the baking adventures. Bake one for yourself and tell me if it suits your taste buds. Have a nice day and cheers


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My Steamed Sponge Cake (Kuey Neng Ko) Is Full Of Gas。。。。 (汽水鸡蛋糕)

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It was 5 am in the morning. I told myself that I must wake up early to write this post and share with readers about this extremely simple recipe. This is rather a  special post to me because it is my 200th post since I started my blog 3.5 months ago in late April 2013.

Yesterday evening, I made a traditional Chinese steamed sponge cake (鸡蛋糕)and posted in certain Facebook Group and surprisingly these 2 eggs sponge cake caught a lot of readers’ attention requesting for the recipe. In fact, I am rather happy that this Chinese steamed sponge cake turned out so well.

Those who come from a traditional Chinese family will know that this cake is a delicate cake to make. As contrast to Western cakes, this cake should have “cracks” or “smiley face”  in its top, the bigger the better. In Chinese, such cracks will signify prosperity and brings good fortunes when the cake was offered to the ancestors, 

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Traditionally, while making this cake, there were lots of “taboos” or “pantang larang”. Only the person who are making the cakes were allowed to enter the kitchen freely. Those who entered should not be talking anything that could possibly “resulted” in a crack less cake or  a “bald” head! And housewives are trying all sorts of ways to make the cake “laugh” as “happily” as possible. She will generally be respected, admired and pampered for her ability to make a “laughing” steamed sponge cake for offering to the ancestors.


WHY THIS CAKE?

Tracking my readership statistics, I found that during the last two weeks, quite a lot of readers were visiting one of my post The Plights of Kuey Neng KoThe Traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake…. This is a post whereby I  analysed why younger Chinese generations are not fond of having this traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake and  tweaked it into a cute party snack.

I also knew that as one of the big Chinese religious festivals – Hungry Ghost Festivals is approaching, a lot of people are looking for recipes to prepare this cake for religious offerings. Another possible reason is because bloggers in certain hop in group is having an “egg” events whereby bloggers are searching for eggs related recipes.

Knowing those who visited my earlier post of party snack Chinese steamed sponge cake may get disappointed as that cannot be used for ancestor offerings, therefore, I feel obliged to share a recipe that can prepare a cake for praying purposes.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED?

Recipe adapted from : Xinshipu.

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  • 2 large eggs (preferably at room temperature) (鸡蛋)

  • 300 grams of self raising flours – sifted (自发面粉)

  • 150 gram of fine sugar (细砂糖)

  • Sprite or 7-up or ice cream soda about 200ml (汽水)

  • 2 tablespoons of condensed milk (炼奶) or 2 teaspoons or ovallete

  • One 6” bamboo basket (竹篮) that are 4” deep or round baking tin (烤盘)

Note:

It is rather common in Malaysia and Singapore or even the original recipe uses ovallete. As I do not have ovallete with me, I have searched for ovallete substitute and I came across this blog http://www.thelittleteochew.com/2009/09/what-is-ovalette.html which have list out his/her preference of not using ovalette. I tends to concur with her that as long as the egg is adequately beaten, there is no need to have ovallete or condensed milk. My mother in law also disclosed to me that they have never used any ovallete in her many years of making this cake.


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Pre-preparation

  • Get ready a 6 inches diameter baking tin and lined it with baking paper. Ideally, use a bamboo basket and lined with cellophane plastic sheet (竹篮玻璃纸). As I do not have the bamboo basket, I used a baking tin instead. Baking tin are more difficult to steam.

  • Get ready a big pot or wok for steaming and make sure that the cover is tall enough for your cake rise. One of the reasons that this cake as in the illustration did not rise as high as desired because it was constrained by the height of my steamer.

  • Boiled the water under high heat and put the empty baking tin in the steamer to warm the baking tin.

Making the cakes

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  • Crack two eggs in a big mixing bowl. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons of condensed milks or 2 teaspoons of ovalette.

  • Beat at high speed until the eggs turns light and fluffy. (Note that as a result of adding condensed milks, you may not be able to obtain the soft peak form from egg beating).

  • Fold in the sifted flour as quickly as possible.

  • Add in the gassy drinks and, stir lightly and quickly until well mixed.

  • Transfer the batter quickly to the heated baking tin/wooden basket. Put some some sugar on top of the batter in a cross shape (this is an important step to make it crack). 在鸡蛋面糊上面上,跟着十字的形状,撒下2条直线的白糖。

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  • Steamed under high heat for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in and comes out clean. Put in additional hot water if the water dries up. Do not open the steamer cover for the first 15 minutes.

  • Once your remove the cake from the steamer, immediately remove it from the baking tin or bamboo basket. Place in a wiring rack and let it cool completely. It is important that you took out the baking tin or bamboo basket immediately to prevent water condensation around the side of the baking tin that will make the cake become soggy.

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  • Cut into pieces before serving. Re-steamed the cake before serving if you find the cake hardens after two to three days.

I have purposely to decorate this cake with a red ribbon and some red colouring on top of the cake. This is the traditional way of decorating the cake before offering sessions.

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Analysis On Textures of The Cake

The texture of the cake is slightly different from the traditional cake due to the addition of gassy drinks and condensed milk. It is moister and I do not even need to have some drinks after taking three to four pieces. Traditionally, as it is very light and fluffy, I tend to get choke as the cake debris will irritate my throats. Therefore, do not compare with the traditional cake texture. So far, family members preferred this newer texture than the traditional types as it is easy to eat!

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CONCLUSIONS

This is a simple cake. This is a traditional cake that not many blog writers would want to write about. However, to make it to “laugh” or crack to the way that you desired, it needs delicate handlings. As a traditional old man, I respect the cake and give the cake full attention and the cake is happy to give me back a big smile… Haha.

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Have a nice day and hope that this post will help those readers who are seeking for Chinese steamed sponge cake recipe.

Hope you like the post. Cheers

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I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up “Eggs” event organized by organized by Bake for Happy Kids, my little favourite DIY and hosted by (Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out). You can link your egg recipes here.

What A Golf Ball Have To Do With A Pineapple? Well, It Is The Famous South East Asian Pineapple Tarts (凤梨酥)

This post is updated  on 9th January 2014 with the inclusion of a VEGETARIAN RECIPE. This recipe is egg less, milk less and butter less. Please scroll down towards the end of the post for vegetarian recipe. Both recipes share the same steps of illustration.

Second updates on 20 July 2014 : New Picture Taking

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INTRODUCTION

I told myself, I must set aside my time to write this post. I have lost my recipe twice. Once, accidentally thrown away by my wife as she thought it is my kids recycle paper and in another incident, I have typed down in a notepad in my old computer but I just can’t locate it when I switched to my new computer. So this time, I told myself that I must publish in my blog so that I have multiple copies and if I lost it, maybe I can still get a copy from my readers ! Ha-ha

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PINEAPPLE TARTS DEFINED

As usual, I will give some standard definition of the food that I am going to post so as to give readers a better understanding on what they are going to prepare! As per Wikipedia:

“Pineapple tarts refer to small, bite-size pastries filled with or topped with pineapple jam found in different parts of Asia. In South East Asia exists one form of Pineapple tart.  The pastry consists of a large proportion of butter and egg yolk, besides using corn starch, giving it a rich, buttery, tender and melt-in-the-mouth texture. The pineapple jam is usually made by slowly reducing and caramelizing grated fresh pineapple that has been mixed with sugar and spices – usually cinnamon, star anise and cloves. Typical shapes include a flat, open tart topped with pineapple jam under a lattice of pastry, rolls filled with jam that are open at the ends and jam-filled spheres. Considered a “festive cookie”, pineapple tarts are usually consumed during Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Deepavali periods in Singapore and Malaysia.[However, they are sold all year round by commercial bakeries and by souvenir stores serving tourists.” Source: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineapple_tart)

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MAJOR TYPES OF PINEAPPLE TARTS

There are many types of pineapple tarts and the basic types are:

1) The golf ball types or enclosed version. It is also called melt in the mouth types of pineapple tarts. This shall be the recipe that I will share with readers today.

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2) The opened version whereby the pineapple jams sits on a flower like pastry.

Source : http://happyhomebaking.blogspot.sg

3) The half enclosed type or Nastar version whereby part of the jams were wrapped with two ends opened.It is also called pineapple rolls

Source: http://www.tastespotting.com


PREPARATION OF PINEAPPLE TARTS

Preparation of pineapple tarts will involve the following two main parts:

  • Preparation of pineapple jam – I will not cover this part in this post. I have made my pineapple jam before but as I did not capture the images here, therefore, I will not share with readers here. Instead, if you are interested to make your own pineapple jam, you can visit this blogger’s video http://.bigheadmagicmad.com on how he makes the pineapple jam. For this illustration, I have opted to use the ready-made jam sold over the counter which can be easily bought in most supermarkets or cake specialty stores in Singapore and Malaysia.
  • Shaping of Jams;
  • Preparation of Doughs;
  • Wrapping of Jams; and
  • Baking the Pastry

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The steps that I am going to detail here are rather unconventional and “unusual”. This is a method that I have used and found to be the easiest and fruitful method.  If you follow this recipe and preparation illustration strictly, you will get a melt in the mouth buttery pastry. Unlike other posts, I am rather insistent on the method and ingredients used to achieve that quality of tarts made. It is via many trial and error that I have come out with this recipe. There are no corn flours or cream cheeses as in other recipes. The pastry is just using extremely simple ingredients low gluten wheat flours or normal wheat flours, butter, sugar and egg. The recipe uses creaming method as opposed to the rubbing method but provide equally light pastry that melts in your mouth.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 1 kg  of pineapple jam.
  • 500g of plain flour
  • 350g of salted butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 50g of icing sugar
  • 4 egg yolks (note that in the picture there are some egg whites which is not supposed to be there)
  • 4 tablespoons of icy cold water. You can have 3 tablespoons of water from the fridge and one ice cubes.
  • Pinches of salt
  • 2 egg yolks (for egg washing)

Pineapple Jams – Personally, I prefer the pineapple jam that are made with the pulps included. It will be slightly sour and fibrous. There are some category labelled  as “premium quantity” (which is made purely from the flesh) but in my humble opinion, the jams will are too sweet and too soft for this golf shape pineapple tarts

Salted Butter – I am rather insistent that it must be pure butter. No vegetable oil and mixture of vegetable oil and animal fats. Put aside the health issues, the fats selected must have high fat content!

Icy cold water – It is very important to have ice-cold water to incorporate air into the dough. When it is ice-cold, butter will not melt that soon and therefore, it is less likely to have a sticky dough.

Icing sugar – It must be icing sugar as the sugar must be extremely fine so that you don’t have any sugars that are not dissolved in the pastry due to the special handling of this dough.

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SHAPING OF JAMS

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  • Cut over the jam package. Use your best estimation to divide the jam equally. I am making about 1oo jam balls for 1 kg of pineapple jams. About 10 g per balls.
  • When shaping the balls, you may find it extremely sticky. Pat your hands with some clean water. the balls that you made will become very smooth. If you have excessive water in your hands, your balls will become very slippery and it will drop.
  • Get ready a plastic container, arranged it nicely layer by layer. In between the layer, add a piece of plastic sheet to separate the balls. This step is also deemed to be a must if you are following my methods later.
  • Once you have shaped all the jams, stored in the freezer for 3-4 hours. Don’t worry if your jam looks like an iron ball, that is ideal if you can constantly keep it in that way. Well this is a rather controversial step.

Notes

This step is preferably done the day before. Even not, should be at least 3-4 hours before. Unless you are an expert, you can wrap with immediately shaped balls, otherwise, 3-4 hours preparation, in my humble opinion is a must. You will know the reasons why very soon.


PREPARING THE DOUGHS…..

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  • Sift your flours, if possible two times in a container. Set aside for later use.
  • In  a mixing bowl, placed your butter and sugar. Beat until creamy.
  • Add in the egg yolks one by one, reduce your speed to slow and beat until the yolk were well mixed

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  • Take out the mixing bowl and fold in the flours using a big metal spoon as lightly as possible.
  • Alternate with icy cold water until all the flours and water have been added and well mixed.
  • Scope into a plastic container and put inside the refrigerator and let it cool for at least 1/2 to 1 hour.

Notes:

The harder it is, the easier for you to wrap. If you know how to handle this type of soft dough, you can wrap directly. However, for my wrapping method to be shared below, it is advisable for you to cool your dough until the butter start to solidify a bit.

If you are making a big batch of pineapple tarts, to save your electricity and effort, you can make the dough all at once at keeping it in the fridge. It can keep for a long period of time (at least more than a week) provided you only take the portion that you want for that session and keep all the rest in the fridge until you need it for the next session.

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WRAPPING THE DOUGHS AND ….

Here is the fun and controversial part.

I will show you the traditional way of wrapping and then show you my own way of wrapping to increase your productivities.

My unique way of wrapping was discovered by me during one of the nights just before Chinese New Year when I have to rush out the orders for my customers. The time is already very late, almost 11:00 pm. Nobody is helping me as my wife and my kids have to sleep early as they have to attend the school next day. I have to make at least 2 kg  jam equivalent of pineapple tarts (about 240 pineapple tarts). I am tired as nobody was helping me, I suddenly felt the urge to discontinue the making of the tarts. I threw all the balls into the dough, walked to the balcony and take a rest. After 15 minutes when I cooled down, I tried to salvage the situation and that I discovered this method was the best method so far. Subsequent testing confirmed that this was the easiest and with the thinnest dough. However, there are a few requisites that you must follow strictly as what I have described above and subsequently.

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  • Shape your dough into 10 grams each.
  • Flattened the dough, take a jam ball and put on top of it. Wrap it and shaped into a round ball.

You can use this method but since the objective is to have a mouthful pineapple tart. The pastry must be light and melt in your mouth. The flattening of dough may result in over handling of dough that yields harder crust eventually.  

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  • Pre-heat your oven to  180 degree Celsius.
  • Take out your dough, and use a spoon to slightly loosen the dough.
  • Take the jam balls from the freezer and throw, say, the first layers of the hard jam balls into the dough container. Put the rest back to the freezer.
  • Put some dough on top of the balls and rolled the balls on top of the hard dough.

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  • Shape the dough following the shape of the round hard jam balls and put in the baking trays.

Note:

This is a very important step, the harder the balls, the better it is for you to shape. The cold temperature of the balls will help to make the butter in the dough in solid form and resulting in light pastry crust.

As long as the dough covers the balls, you can start shaping it. Hard balls made your shaping very easy and give your final pineapple tarts an identical shape.

You need to time to make the tarts and at the same time, your balls will start to defrost. Therefore it is a must that you put it back into the freezer for it to get hard again. Rubbing the balls against the dough is very fast and quickly enclosed your jam balls.

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  • First egg wash before you  send the tarts into the oven. For egg wash, hand beaten 2 egg yolks and add 2 big tablespoons of water and 2 drops of oil. Sift and put in a container. Use a brush to lightly brush the tarts.
  • Put the tarts into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 
  • 15 minutes after baking, take out the tray and have the second egg wash. By now, your tarts will start to take shape and firmer, so you can apply the egg wash more liberally. But care still have to be taken because it is “melt in your mouth”, when it is hot, it is still very “fragile”. so handle with care!!
  • After 5 minutes, take out the tarts and your mission is completed.

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Updated picture

Pineapple tarts prepared on January 2014

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This is a rather controversial way of making the tarts. However, the tarts that you made will really melt in your mouth.
  • It is unusual for me to say that you have to follow my exact steps but for this pastry, you have to follow very closely. Even 1 tablespoon less icy water may make your final products very floury.

  • The order of procedures have to be adhered very closely. Too high the temperature will make your dough sticky and finally your products become very hard. In addition, it will be rather difficult to handle if both the jam and the dough become sticky.
  • The selection of the ingredients are very important. I personally prefer animal fats with high fat content with no compromise. In addition, the jam preferably will include some pulp as it will not be too sweet and too sticky.

  • Practice made perfect! It is not tough but you must have that feeling of touch so if you fail your first attempt, you should not be deter to try the second time.

 

Hope you like the post and have a nice day. Cheers

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UPDATED ON 9 JANUARY 2014 WITH INCLUSION OF VEGETARIAN PINEAPPLE TARTS


Every year I have to prepare two types of pineapple tarts: normal pineapple tarts and vegetarian pineapple tarts. Vegetarian pineapple tarts means that there are NO EGGS, NO BUTTER AND NO MILK. Therefore, it is acceptable for vegetarian by religion – particularly Buddhism.

Eggs have the ability to provide fragrance and binding effect of the tarts. These are substitute by corn flour. For egg wash purposes, honey is used instead of egg yolks. Of course the results will be less shinny like those egg washed by egg yolks. As for butter, it is substituted with margarine or other vegetable fats. In this recipe, it was 50% of margarine and 50% of olive oil bread spread. The end products will have some fragrance of olive oil. No detail illustration will be provided except the recipe. It is nice and slightly crispier than traditional pineapple tarts minus the butter aroma. It is definitely acceptable to me when I am on a vegetarian diet.

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VEGETARIAN PINEAPPLE TARTS RECIPES

  • 1 kg  of pineapple jam.(凤梨酱)

Dough

  • 400g of plain flour (面粉)
  • 200g of corn flour (玉米粉)
  • 175g margarine (Planta) (植物油)
  • 175g olive oil spread (can be substitute with margarine) (橄榄油-涂面包所用)
  • 50 g of icing sugar (糖粉)
  • Pinches of salt (少许盐)

“Egg Washing”

  • 1 tablespoon of honey with 1.5 tablespoon of water/soya milk – mixed well (1汤匙蜂蜜+1.5 汤匙的水或豆奶)

It is hoped that with this recipe, more people will be able to enjoy the South East Asian famous pineapple tarts. If you are on a gluten free diet, you can try to substitute the plain flour with gluten free flour

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pineapple tarts collage11

 

kk

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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