Pineapple Tarts

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pineapple Tarts Unbaked


Two of my must-have Chinese New Year goodies are open-faced pineapple tarts and love letters. For as far back as I can remember, I have been getting my fix from the same stalls because so many have failed the test of my taste buds :)


Pineapple Tarts Baked


This year, I decided to be a little more ambitious and make my own pineapple tarts. I have been told that the reason for their high price is its associated difficulty in making them and so, I decided to make a small batch in my first attempt…just in case…

I was heartened to discover that it was not too difficult really. That first batch also gave me plenty of opportunity to further refine the recipe for tarts better-suited to my family’s taste. The original recipe produced a batch of pineapple filling that gave too much of a sugar rush and I have reduced the amount of sugar as I used honey pineapples. I have also added some salt to the pastry to give a better taste.

Along the way, I have also picked up some useful tricks that made the process easier and I have included them in the revised recipe below. The pineapple filling can be made in advance and chilled. Should the pineapple filling become too sticky to roll between palms, pop it into the refrigerator for a couple of minutes to chill and harden slightly.

We love the homemade pineapple tarts and will be making more batches.



Pineapple Tarts


Ingredients

Pastry:
450 gm plain flour
50 gm milk powder
250 gm butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp iced water
a pinch of salt
a few drops yellow colouring (optional)

Filling:
4 cups lightly-blended
pineapple (gently squeeze out some juice)
3 cups sugar
2
cloves
½ inch
cinnamon stick


Method

Filling :

1. Place all ingredients into
wok or heavy pan.

2. Cook for about 1- 1½ hour over medium heat, stirring occasionally till mixture turns thick and sticky. Allow to cool, then use a cling film to seal and chill in refrigerator.


Pastry :

3. Rub butter into flour and milk powder lightly with fingertips till mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add beaten egg, water and colouring. Mix lightly, do not overmix.

4. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and roll out thinly (about 7mm thickness). Cut with round pastry cutter. Roll out remaining pastry and use a knife to cut into thin strips.

5. Roll a teaspoon of pineapple into a small ball. Flatten it slightly and place it in the centre of each pastry. Place the pastry strips over the tarts.

6. Bake in preheated oven 160oC for 10 min on middle rack. Remove the tray and glaze the tops of the tarts.

7. Rotate the tray and place it into oven and bake at 150oC for 10-15 min till light brown in colour.

8. Cool completely before storing in sealed container. If stacking tarts in layers, separate each layer with parchment paper.


Reference : Jthorge’s Kitchen

Book Review : Dead Heat

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dead Heat



My delight was doubled when I picked up Dead Heat by Joel Rosenberg at the library. On first sight, I thought it would be another thriller action novel, along the likes of Dan Brown and James Rollins. The book is a page-turner with its suspense and playout of end-time prophecies.

From the time I had a taste of James Rollins and his mastery in incubating fact with fiction to hatch a fascinating tale of thrilling action, I got hooked onto this style of writing. And so, now Rosenberg presented me with another series of books written along a similar vein. I love how the authors threaded real fact with imagination to weave an almost credible story bordering on real-life investigative work. Some of the plots and subplots mentioned in their books bring a thrill along your spine as they hint of a sinister slant to real world events.

Dead Heat is a roller-coaster ride that had me gripping the political thriller till the end and then, left me rushing to get hold of its earlier prequels. It brings into play Biblical prophecies of the end-times (or eschatology) and shares bone-chilling insights to how it parallels with world happenings as they unfold. What is scarier is that, each of the 5 books in the series was written/published just before the major events mentioned in them happened in our world.

Verdict : 9/10. Two thumbs up!

A New Year Dawns

Friday, January 1, 2010

Time flies, the past year’s events seemed to have sped by and we have stepped into another brand new year.

As I read my thoughts at the start of 2009, I reflected on the experiences my family has had in the past year and all I can say is that God was with us through it all. Several major events still linger vividly in my mind and together with many other small seemingly insignificant incidents, they create a tapestry of God’s faithfulness and goodness.

To list some of the memorable events in 2009 here will serve to journal the milestones of 2009.

• Hubby’s eventful year in the marketplace – I am reminded of how we have grown in the Lord and the effective usage of prayer as both a weapon and as a shield.

• My adventures in the kitchen – I am surprised that I have a genuine lasting interest in cooking and baking

• Our selection as parent volunteers at a preferred primary school for Big Buddy – the song “God will make a way” rings loud and clear.

• My onward journey as a Christian leader in my church – I am once again a carecell leader

• New selling strategies in my business – God opens windows when the doors seem to be closed.

• Our 10th Wedding Anniversary celebrations – a second honeymoon and a family photo-shoot session commemorate the special year for us

• Christmas parties with a personal touch – for the first time, I added personal touches to the invitation, menu and program as hosts for a large party


The woven threads of colourful past experiences culminates in a trust that 2010 will be a sweet year in the Lord. There are several decisions to be made this year in conjunction with how my family life will evolve this year. I harbour dreams and desires that in the course of the year, I hope to see come to past. Dear God, I know not how but I know that You can make it happen.

Let the year 2010 surely be a Year of Celebration for my family!