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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese New Year Goodies’

Pineapple Tarts

Pineapple Tarts

Pineapple tart filling

Pineapple tart filling

This is one of the items I made this year for Chinese New Year– everything is from scratch… it’s very time consuming and yet the result is very rewarding. This is one of my family’s favorite.

Pineapple Tart Recipe (makes 75 pieces):

Pastry Ingredients:
2 (4oz)sticks + 2 tbsp butter
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk powder
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 egg

Filling: cooked pineapples (see below for recipe)– make into 75 small balls.

Glazing: 1 beaten egg yolk + few drops water

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, microwave butter until soft (not melted).
  2. Cream soften butter and icing sugar. Add egg and mix until well blended.
  3. Sift flour and milk powder into butter mixture. Use a spatula to mix well to form a dough. The dough should be very soft (like play dough) and not sticky.
  4. Divide dough into 75 portions and wrapping in the pineapple filling. Shape the tarts into log shape, use a fork to press on the top to make pineapple pattern, glaze the tarts and bake at 340°F for 20 minutes till golden.

Pineapple Filling (2 pineapples from Costco will yield about 90 small balls for pineapple tarts):

Ingredients:
2 large pineapples ( I used Golden Pineapples– 1 ripe and 1 unripe)
4 cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 1/2 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Remove the skin, “eye” and core of pineapples, cut into pieces and blend in food processor until no visible chunks.
  2. Cook blended pineapple in a big pot on medium high heat uncovered, add in cloves and cinnamon powder. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until most of the juice almost dry out (yeah it’s very time consuming– it took me about 2.5~3 hrs).
  3. When the juice is drying out and turning into pineapple jam like, turn the heat to medium or med. low. This is the point when you have to keep stirring to prevent burnt at the bottom. Add sugar (use more or less according to your taste, the flavor should be sweet and tangy) and keep stirring until the jam get thicker– you will feel it as your arm will be getting sore :). For enclosed pineapple tarts, cook the jam a bit more to get a drier consistency. Every cook top has different levels of heating elements so please adjust the heat according to your stove.
  4. Let the jam cool completely before using in pineapple tarts. Keep in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze until ready to use.

Note:

  • Use ripe pineapple for flavor and unripe pineapple for texture/fiber. Squeeze out the juice before cooking definitely will cut down the cooking time, but the jam won’t be as flavorful… ok, to compromise maybe use only 1/2 or 2/3 of the juice next time?…
  • Use a pot with larger surface for the liquid to evaporate faster. I use wooden spoon (with long handle) and let it stay in the pot the whole  time. It’s easy to stir and won’t pass the heat during the long cooking process.
  • Corner Cafe posts a microwave method of cooking the filling, and it takes much less time of course…will try it out next time. (Note: my friend tried the microwave method, the filling is lighter in color but because pineapple juice was squeezed out, thus the pineapple filling is not very flavorful… hmmm maybe next time I will cook pineapple (with juice) on the stove till 1/3 of juice left then pop into microwave to cook some more– making the painful process a little faster??)
  • Cook the filling a bit drier for enclosed pineapple tarts.
  • Glazing: adding a couple drops of water will thin down the mixture and easier to glaze the tarts.
  • I made the tarts smaller than usual so my boys can finish it in 1 bite then there will be less crumbs falling everywhere 🙂
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Green Pea Cookies

CNY Snack: Green Pea Cookies

This is one of the Chinese New Year goodies I made this year. The result– you can taste the green peas flavor but a bit too sweet. Not too bad considering it’s my first attempt… will improve upon next trial.

Green Pea Cookies Recipe from “New Year Cookies” by Alan Ooi:

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup grounded green peas
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Glazing: 1 beaten egg yolk

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except egg yolk). Mix well to form a dough– if the dough is too dry can a little more oil.
  3. Roll the dough into small balls (1 inch diameter). Place balls onto baking sheet and use finger to gently press down to form a disc. Alternatively you can also roll out the dough between 2 sheets and use cookie cutter to cut out the shape.
  4. Glaze the top with beaten egg yolk. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Cool on the rack. Store in air tight container.

Note:

  1. I find the cookies are little too sweet to my liking… will cut down icing sugar to maybe 3/4 cup next time?
  2. I gounded the green peas using food processor and there were some big chunks of green peas left. Will try to ground the peas using coffee grinder next time to see if it will be more fine texture.
  3. For glazing: next time use beaten egg yolk plus few drops of water so it won’t be too thick.

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GONG XI FA CAI!!! May the Year of Ox bring you prosperity and happiness.

As I said in my previous post, I have been busy preparing for Chinese New Year and other daily stuff and so been behind again posting entries… seems I never have the time. Anyway, this is what I’ve been busy making for CNY:

Chinese New Year goodies

Chinese New Year goodies

I made 8 kinds of Chinese New Year treats this year, shown on the purple plate. The big crackers on the beautiful green flower plate is called “Keropok” (fish crackers), which is my all time favorite munch especially when playing mah jong. This is my first time making all these 8 types of treats… needs improvement of course but overall I’m very proud of myself. Whenever I told people I made them all by myself, they asked me where do I find the time to do all these besides taking care of 2 young boys and a baby… well, where there’s a will there’s a way 🙂

Let’s check out what goodies are on the plate (clockwise starts from top right):

Pork floss mini rolls— easy but time consuming. Cut a sheet of spring roll wrapper into 9 small pcs, fill in a little pork floss, roll up and seal the edge. Don’t be greedy and put too much pork floss– fat rolls don’t look good and saltier to the taste. Also, some recipes use beaten egg wash to seal but I find using egg wash will produce many tiny tiny bubbles on the “skin” after deep frying– not pretty at all vs. a smooth look using flour batter(flour+water–> thick batter ) for sealing. (cheaper on the cost too). I put the rolls in the fridge uncoveredto let cold (to get rid of the moist heat so the rolls stay dry in the freezer and less chance of oil splashing when frying) before storing them in the freezer. Time consuming but can be made ahead of time and stored in freezer. Can be baked in the oven too. I’ll try the baked version next time.

Green pea cookies— Couldn’t find premix green pea powder so I had to ground the snack green pea myself and thus it’s not as fine as the premix ones… you can still taste little pcs of green peas in the cookies. I grounded the peas ahead of time so when it came to making it’s pretty easy, although I find the recipe that I followed is a bit sweet to my taste– will cut down the sugar next time.

Nori/Seaweed crisps— This is super easy and fast and can be made ahead of time and store in the freezer. Just sandwich 2 sheets of spring roll wrapper with 1 sheet of nori, using seasoned flour mixture (flour+water+bit of salt+bit of ground white pepper–>medium flow consistency batter) to stick them together. Use scissors to cut into 1 inch strips. Deep fry or bake in the oven.

Kuih Bangkit— I followed the no-butter recipe from Yochana’s Cake Delight but the dough was very shiny and couldn’t stand on its own (according to the recipe this is not supposed to happen)– so I kept adding more and more topioca flour to the dough. The results– the kuih bangkits are bit hard to bite but still melt in the mouth. Definitely NEEDS improvements!! Oh, I used sakura flower cookie cutter because they are so pretty, and use crab cracking tool (or toothpick) dipped in red coloring to make it looks nice on the top. Pretty huh don’t you think? 🙂

Hae Bee (Spicy dried shrimp) mini rolls— Same method as with pork floss mini rolls. Again, all can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the freezer. I rolled these up before the pork floss rolls and then found them to be too “fat”. As a result, too much hae bee–> too salty! Lesson learned…

Love letters— I wish I could find electric love letter maker  here in US, that will make the job a breeze. As a result, I had to use the very traditional love letter molds, making piece by piece on the stove. However I forgot to grease the mold this time before putting in the batter and thus spent some  time cleaning up the mold before even producing any love letters!! Argh!!! …Another lesson learned.

Honey joys— Pretty much is a cornflake snack coated with honey, sugar and butter mixture. I got the recipe from Corner’s Cafe but changed a little– used more honey (to produce a more shiny look)and less sugar (for less sugar crystallization )and butter (not as rich) as suggested, also add in pinch of salt so the balance the sweetness.

Pineapple tarts(pictured center)— The filling can be cooked ahead of time and store in the fridge/freezer. The pastry dough is not hard to make at all (I soften the butter in the microwave). There are open face pineapple tart and enclosed pineapple tart (fillings to be a bit drier than the open face version). Personally I like the enclosed version better because no worries about tarts sticks together. I used a fork to create the pineapple pattern on the top, not too bad huh? I also made the tarts slightly smaller than the usual ones so it’ll be easier for my boys to eat without much crumbs falling everywhere.

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