With Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year almost back to back, the different occassions seemed like it never really ended and started again, rather, it felt as if it went by in one continuous stretch. Yet, the end of the entire holiday season kind of hit me in my face. With reality set in so quickly, I don’t think I’ve quite recovered and gotten enough of Chinese New Year! I still think of coffee lapis cake, dumplings and not to mention, my absolute favorite pineapple tarts.
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve eaten as many pineapple tarts as I’ve had this Chinese New Year. Somehow, this Chinese New Year rekindled my love and longing for pineapple tarts. Whenever we go house visiting, I would kinda spy around to spot if there’re any pineapple tarts among the stash of Chinese New Year goodies. Trying all the different kinds of pineapple tarts made me realized that my grandmother’s pineapple tarts are indeed the best!
Every year, a week before Chinese New Year, my grandmother buys between 12 and 15 pineapples just for my household alone to make the filling for the pineapple tarts. I’ve never seen how she makes the filling but from what I’ve heard, its quite labor intensive. Maybe I’ll go over to her house to help her next year!
We would usually make the crust together when my grandmother comes over to my place. With her sitting on a chair and with all the ingredients laid out, I would try to understand her instructions with my terrible Cantonese. It’s most interesting when we’re weighing (more like portioning) out the flour and the sugar, because we never use a scale. Its usually something like (in Cantonese) “more, more, more, more, little bit more.. little bit… *shakes the Chinese rice bowl to level the sugar*…slightly more. Ok, enough”. This time, I made a conscious effort to ensure that I weighed everything and typed the recipe down. As far as the recipe goes, it’s as precise as needing…159.3g of sugar.
We then proceeded to the dining table where my grandmother could sit comfortably. The rest of us crowded around, as we spent hours rolling small bits of dough that my grandmother had already portioned out, flattened the dough, positioned a pre-rolled ball of pineapple filling, carefully wrapped the moist dough round the pineapple, shaped it and crimped the dough. After a while, we came up with an efficient system and I ended up doing all the crimping, which is my favorite part. The design is what really set these pineapples apart because I’ve never seen the same pineapple tart design outside!
And there you have it – trays and trays of delicious pineapple tarts.
I miss the holiday season!!