February 11, 2010

Pineapple Tart for Chinese New Year

Pineapple Filling/jam
(To be made the day before shaping the tarts - Microwave method)
* 4 cans 20 ozs pineapple crushed/chunks(drain and pulse in food processor until fine)
* sugar (amount of sugar should be equal to the pineapple pulp e.g. 1 cup pineapple pulp to 1 cup sugar. 3/4 cup of sugar will be acceptable as the canned pineapples do tend to be sweeter than fresh ones)
*1 tbsp of lime/lemon juice
*2 sticks of cinnamon bark
*6 cloves
*1 segment of star anise
Method: Put all the ingredients in a big round pyrex bowl and microwave on high. Start with 15 mins, stir well, high for another 15 mins x 2. If jam is still runny, microwave at 1 min at a time until it is thick but still wet. It will thicken and dry out when it is cooled. If jam has gone too dry, just add enough water, stir well to dilute. Jam for filling should not be too dry as it will dry further when the tarts are baking. (The timing in the microwave is for making 4 cans of pineapples, so if you intend to try making with one can only, then the time taken in the microwave should be very much shorter)
Pastry dough:
*340g plain flour
*½ tsp salt
*2 tbsp icing sugar
*225g butter, cubed
*1 egg yolk
*5 tsp iced-cold water
*½ tsp vanilla essence
1 beaten egg + 1tsp water, for glazing
Put sifted flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Beat in the egg yolk and add ice-cold water and essence. Mix well to form a dough. Place in a plastic bag and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Roll pastry out to 3/8” thickness on a lightly-floured tabletop and cut out rounds with a tart cutter. Fill each piece of cut-out pastry with pineapple jam filling. Cut thin strips of pastry to form a lattice on top of each tart. Glaze the strips with beaten egg.
Place tarts on a greased baking tray and bake in preheated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 170°C and continue to bake for another 10 minutes or until golden. Turn tarts out to cool on a wire rack before storing in air-tight containers.
*note: this recipe was a combine of jam filling from Lily Wai Sek Hong and the pastry is from somewhere I found years ago.
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February 10, 2010

Valentine Day Crayons

My kids school has this crazy policy for treat bags, NO FOOD just trinkets for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's parties in schoool. Now how many of us can afford to buy tiny cheapo quality toys from Party stores that will cost a bomb especially if you have more than 1 kid in school. It was just cheaper to buy chocolates and candies. The most affordable thing to get a kid are stickers, tattoos and pencils. And I'm sick of pencils as I have tonnes of them now.
This Valentine's Day, I decided to try being abit of a Martha Stewart. I ran and bought a cookie mold (smaller size) and since I have alot of leftover crayons, I got the kids to help unwrap the crayons, break them to smaller sizes, mix them into the mold and melt them at 350ºF for 6-7 minutes. Let it cool in room temperature or put it in the fridge to cool faster. Use a straw to mix the melted crayon to get the swirl effect. It turned out cute and interesting. Each new crayon is unique.
Maybe you could try this out for your kids' next party.. just remind the kid that its a crayon and not a candy. Gilly's ballet teacher had to scream out to a girl NOT to EAT it.
Here is the easy to read instructions:-
What you need:
Cookie mold (metal or silicone, smaller shapes will be easy for handling)
Leftover crayon (remove wrappers)
Straw or toothpick
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Break the crayons
Put crayons into individual molds.
Bake in heated oven for 6-7 minutes (when you take it out, becareful as the crayons are melted i.e in liquid form)
Use a straw and slowly stir the melted crayon for swirl effect
Let it cool in room temp or put into the refrigerator for a quick cool
For color coordination, if you want funky ones you can use any colors if not, use colors from the same group, like blues with greens or red with orange.
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