Pineapple Tarts

3 February, 2008 at 12:53 am | Posted in » Bite-size Tarts, » Recipes | 13 Comments
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How often do you see pineapples tart on the shelves other then during the CNY period? I would say the chances are low… Pineapple tarts are usually available during CNY period… it’s strange that why this lovely treats are only available during that time of the year… and maybe becos of this, it’s so special and a must have during CNY.

This year I did not make my own pineapple paste, instead, I bought those ready made from my regular baking supply shop… hubby was complaining that the paste is not nice, not moist enough and lack of flavors… I guess he is too used to the pineapple paste I made… heehee

Personally, I dun really like those ready made pineapple paste as well… I always find that it’s too hard for my liking that’s why I always insists on making my own… but this year I’m kinda lazy to make the paste… so I just make do with those ready made…

I modified my usual recipe abit to add some milk… and the outcome turns out quite well, the crust is flaky and kinda melts-in-the-mouth…

Ingredients:

550 grams plain flour
350 grams butter
2 tablespoon icing sugar (if you like your pastry to be sweeter, you can add more)
1 teaspoon bakin powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 egg yolks
1 egg white
3-4 tablespoon of ice water / cold milk

pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten to glaze
1 kg pineapple paste

Method:

1.    Sift flour and baking powder together with salt. Add icing sugar.  Rub in the butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2.    Lightly work in the vanilla essence, egg yolks and egg white. Add in ice water a teaspoon at a time until dough is soft but not sticky.
3.    Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 F).
4.    Press the dough into a disc, use a pineapple tart cutter to stamp out the tart and arrage on ungreased baking sheet.
4.    Glaze with egg. Place a smaller ball of pineapple paste on the centre of the tart and press lightly.
5.    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

2nd Daring Bakers Challenge

28 January, 2008 at 10:39 am | Posted in » Bite-size Tarts, » Daring Bakers, » Recipes | 17 Comments
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It’s that time of the month again… yup! It’s time for the DB Challenge! This month’s challenge is Lemon Meringue Pie hosted by Jen of Canadian Baker. I have never tasted any of these pies/tarts before… not to mention to bake one so I was looking forward to taste these lovely tangy pies.

The pie requires three components: crust, curd filling and a fluffy meringue. We were given the option to make one single big pie or a couple of tartlets… I made my in the tartlet form cos I feel that it will be more convenient and easiler to eat in the tartlet form.

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Hubby says it looked like little porcupines…

Overall, I really like the taste of it, although the lemon curd is abit too sour but, with the combination of the sweet meringue top it blends nicely… not too sweet & not too sour. Even my hubby says it’s nice…  Goofy 

… maybe next time I try using different flavour for the curd… heehee

Check out how the rest of the Daring bakers did here.

Ingredients:
Makes one 10-inch (25cm) pie

For the Crust:
3/4 cup (175 grams) cold butter; cut into 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup (58 grams) butter
3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar


Method
:

For the Crust:
1.        Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible.
2.       Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together.
3.       Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl.
4.       Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.
5.       Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (0.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

6.       Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. 
7.       Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

For the Filling:
1.        Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.
2.       Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
3.       Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated.
4.       Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined.
5.       Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue:
1.        Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
2.       Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
3.       Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks.
4.       Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.
5. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

Free-Style Lemon Tartlets
1.        Prepare the recipe as above but complete the following steps:
2.       To roll out tartlet dough, slice the dough into 6 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each circle of dough into a 5 inch disk. Stack the disks, separated by pieces of plastic wrap, on a plate, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3.       To bake the dough, position rack in oven to the centre of oven and preheat to 180ºC. Place the disks of dough, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely.
4.       To finish tartlets, first place oven rack in the upper third of the oven and increase heat to 220ºC.
5.       Divide the lemon filling equally among the disks, mounding it in the centre and leaving a 1-inch border all the way around.
6.       Spoon the meringue decoratively over each tartlet, right to the edges, in dramatic swirling peaks.
7.       Return tartlets to oven and bake for about 5 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.

Egg Tarts !!

16 November, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Posted in » Bite-size Tarts | 3 Comments
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Ever wonder how egg tarts comes about? Do you know that egg tart is related to the English-style custart tart, a pastry commonly enjoyed in the Bristish Isles, Australia and New Zealand?

Well, the earliest record of Egg tart in the east is in a royal banquet for the Kangxi Emperor as part of the Manchu Han Imperial Feast.

Custard tarts were introduced in Hong Kong in the 1940s by Cha Chaan Tengs, and western cafes and bakeries to compete with dim sum restaurants particularly for yum cha. It later evolved to become egg tarts today. At the time, egg tarts were twice the size of today’s tarts. During the 1950s and 1960s when the economy started taking off, Luk Jyu (陸羽) took the lead with the mini-egg tart.

One theory suggests Chinese egg tarts are a Chinese adaption of English tarts with custard filling. Guangdong had long been the region in China with most frequent contact with the West, in particular Britain. As a former British colony, British food naturally assimilated to local Hong Kong tastes. Custard tarts made of shortcrust pastry, eggs, sugar, milk or cream, vanilla, and nutmeg have long been a favourite pastry in the British Isles, Australia, and New Zealand. According to Laura Mason and Catherine Bell’s Traditional Foods of Britain: An Inventory (Prospect Books, London, 2004) a version of custard tart has been made in England since the Middle Ages. The medieval recipe was a shortcrust pastry case filled with a mixture of milk or cream, eggs, sweetening agents, and other spices. Gary Rhodes’s New British Classics (BBC Worldwide, London, 1999) states the recipe of making the modern version of English custard tart has been more or less set since the Tudor times.

There are two types of egg tarts, namely, Hong Kong-style and the Portuguese-style.

Today egg tarts come in many variations within Hong Kong cuisine. These include egg white tarts, milk tarts, honey-egg tarts, ginger-flavored egg tarts (the two aforementioned variations were a take upon traditional milk custard and egg custard, which was usually served in Cha Chaan Tengs: chocolate tarts, green-tea-flavoured tarts and even bird’s nest tarts. Overall, Hong Kong-style egg tarts have two main varieties, divided according to the type of the outermost layer or crust:

  • Butter-flavoured shortcrust pastry (牛油皮): made with shortcrust pastry. It is named “butter skin” in Chinese since it possesses a cookie-like flavour with a rich butter aroma.
  • Puff pastry (酥皮): made with puff pastry and with an extremely crisp texture. Lard is typically used in making the base rather than butter or shortening. This type is regarded as the most traditional and correct form of egg tart by food critics.

Other varieties becoming more popular in the ever increasing focus on health are:

  • Milk-centered egg tarts. It is composed of a smooth milky egg-white center and is considered by some to be somewhat healthier than traditional egg tarts.
  • Bird’s nest egg tarts. Bird’s nest pieces are added to the egg center.

Compared with the original English custard tarts, milk is normally not added to the egg custard, and the tart is not sprinkled with grounded nutmeg or cinnamon before serving. It is also sometimes (though not always) served piping hot rather than at room temperature as per English custard tarts.

Portuguese-style egg tarts were evolved from “pastel de nata“, a traditional Portuguese custard pastry that consists of custard in a crème brûlée-like consistency caramelized fashion in a puff pastry case. It was created more than 200 years ago by Catholic Sisters at Jerónimos Monastery (Portuguese: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) at Belém in Lisbon. Casa Pastéis de Belém was the first pastry shop outside of the convent to sell this pastry in 1837, and it is now a popular pastry in every pastry shop around the world owned by Portuguese descendants.

The Portuguese-style egg tarts known in Macau (葡式蛋撻, more commonly simply as 葡撻) originated from Lord Stow’s Café in Coloane, owned by a Briton named Andrew Stow. Stow modified the recipe of pastel de nata using techniques of making English custard tarts. It has since become available at numerous bakeries, as well as Macau-style restaurants and Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwan branches of the KFC restaurant chain. There was a craze in Singapore and Taiwan in the late 1990s.

(Source from Wikipedia)

I have my try on making Portuguese-style egg tarts yesterday… unfortunately, it does not taste as nice as it looks in the pix =( 

Maybe it’s the recipe… or maybe it’s the tactic… nevertheless, I will keep trying until I get the perfect recipe for the perfect egg tarts…  =D

Here are the pix,

Ready to bake
Ready to bake

Done!
Done!

Close up
Close up

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