Chinese New Year Goodies

 

This post is long overdue. Let me apologize first hand for the long hiatus. I need to take break from the kitchen and posting after this massive project…

I made pineapple jam cookies on top of the peanut cookies for Chinese New Year this year, and packed them in neat little lined boxes and tied with red bows as souvenirs when we went to “bai nian” in Toronto. It’s a Chinese custom to bring something to someone’s house when you visit them during the Lunar New Year and being empty-handed is a very rude thing to do. You will be given some other asupicious goodies in return, such as Mandarin oranges, dried mushrooms, “fatt choy” (dehydrated hair seaweed), cookies, etc.

The pineapple jam rolls were made using Jo’s famous recipe. The jam itself took 6 hours to make, then chilled overnight before rolling them into little balls. The pastry dough was easy but the entire process took 4 weeknights and it was a much bigger project that I had expected it to be. I was really glad that they turned out amazing. They were worth every little second of late nights and needless to say, they were a big hit at my office too. I’ll make sure that I plan ahead of time the next time I make these, because as yummy as they were, my eyebags were not that flattering when I wake up to go to work with less than 5 hours of sleep that week.

Anyway, I was really glad that we bought the Kitchenaid 12-cup food processor last year. Shredding the pineapples were a breeze with the shredding blade that came in the box. That in itself really paid off the hefty pricetag of the machine, me thinks😛 The ingredients in the dough were first mixed with the dough hooks in the food processor. Also, a friend from a forum online told me that it would be much faster to thicken the jam with a little bit of “mak nga tong” or maltose sugar, which I was not able to find here. Maybe some honey, maple syrup or even pectin might work, but it still worked out for me without adding anything else (I’ve never tried using pectin, but it’s a popular ingredient in homemade jams …) . Just a lot of patience and time will do the trick😛

Ingredients

Pineapple Jam

  • 2 medium-size very ripe pineapples, grated
  • 300 grams superfine sugar
  • Some cinnamon and star anise (optional)

Tart Pastry

  •  300g butter, cut into little cubes
  • 130g margarine
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 80g milk powder
  • 1 egg
  • 600g superfine/cake flour
  • 30 g custard powder

Method

Pineapple Jam 

  1. Cook grated pineapples in a pot with sugar, stirring occasionally.
  2. Cook until the pineapple jam starts to thicken into a thick jam consistency and starts to leave the sides of the pot.
  3. Remove from stove and set aside to cool overnight or cool enough to handle with bare hands.
  4. Roll jam into small balls. Cover with Cling-wrap to prevent overdrying.

Tart Pastry

  1. Preheat oven to170-180C / 350F deg.
  2. Cream butter and margarine until light and fluffy. (I used my mixer for this. Make sure that the butter an margarine are chilled and not at room temperature.)
  3. Add egg and beat well.
  4. Sift icing sugar, flour, custard powder and milk powder into the mixture. (I sifted these in a separate bowl and add them to the butter and margarine in the food processor 1 cup at a time.)
  5. Fold to incorporate all ingredients to form a smooth pastry dough. (I remove the dough from the food processor and kneaded the dough future with my hands to make sure that all the dry ingredients are incorporated evenly. The dough should still be cool to the touch.)
  6. If making pineapple jam rolls, place some pastry dough into the mould and pipe a long strip onto your workspace. Sprinkle some flour onto the workspace so that the dough does not stick onto the surface. (I found that the butter and margarine were breaking down fast from the heat of my hands, so you might want to save the dough in the fridge and work in portions because of this. I also was not able to find the “nestar” mould that is typically used for this, so I used a large basketweave piping tip and a piping bag to accomplish this.)
  7. Place a jam ball onto the dough strip and roll to completely enclose the jam ball. Continue rolling the jam balls with the dough until finished. Brush the rolls with egg wash and bake on a greased lined baking sheet for 20 mins or until golden. Cool on wire rack.
  8. If making pineapple jam tarts, roll the dough to approximately 0.7cm thickness. Using a tart mould, cut the dough into out and place them onto a baking sheet. Brush a layer of egg wash and bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the semi-baked tarts from the oven and spoon the pineapple jam in the center of the tart. Bake for another 10 mins and them cool on wire rack.

  10. The easiest way to finish this project is to roll the dough out into small circles and place thejam balls in the center. Roll the dough with your hands to completely enclose the jam ball and adorn the balls with one clove, so that it looks like a small orange. Brush with egg wash and bake for 20 mins and then cooled on the wire rack.

7 responses to “Chinese New Year Goodies

  1. wow, ‘pui fook, pui fook’. They look amazing. Now i know why pineapple cookies are a lot more expensive than other cookies. So much work!

  2. Thanks, Daisy! Also note that this is probably my longest post, yet! Took me quite some time to type everything up too…😛

  3. A cultural and culinary lesson! Not only is it fun to see what you’re up to in the kitchen, it’s educational for me since my Chinese cooking knowledge is virtually non-existent.

  4. Hi Ade! I’ll remember to post more information on the cultural significance next time I post something… Thanks for the tip!

  5. haih…really “pui fook” lo…got the patience to make all these food…mom said that the worst thing that she will worry bout me when u go UK is my meals….i told her that i will juz eat rice n fried egg in si yau then she started lecturing me edi….
    u better post some simply n delicious food..then i can steal recipe n cook…make sure they are my favs ok?

  6. Can you fry an egg yet?😛

  7. i made it into balls.. it’s kinda hard.. mayb it’s the missing custard powder… anyway, i think it could be a pastry part for egg tart.. but not the flaky kind.. but i think it will still b good for egg tart esp we cant get it in ND

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