Saturday, July 30, 2011

baking bug

 When I'm in the mood for a bit of baking, I wouldn't mind spending 2-3 hours on something, but it doesn't happen often. Often when I've a "deadline" like having to bring something for a party/morning tea/friend's dinner that's when I don't feel like baking coz cleaning up is such a chore in this tiny tiny kitchen.
Anyway, above, are pineapple tarts which are a traditional malaysian biscuit, eaten at festive occasions like chinese new year. Who knows its actual could be that the english jam tarts inspired the early malaysians to make their own sort of "jam" using pineapples coz they were cheap and readily available [unlike traditional jam fruits like strawberries, or any sort of berry, really]

They're really yummy, and one of my favourites in the chinese new year cookie tray. If the pastry's made well, the contrast between the crumbly buttery rich pastry and the tangy fibrous cinnamon scented fruity filling is hard to beat. One thing that's hard to get right is the right ratio between pastry and filling. too much of either one and you'd get a disappointing mouthful.

I used a combination of 2 recipes from 2 of my malaysian cookery books, one by Amy Beh and another by Agnes Chang. Basically the pastry's just a rich shortcrust party [like you'd make for a piecrust] and the jam's just jam made with pineapples. It involves whizzing some pineapple pieces in a food processor till it's pulp, then cooking it slowly with sugar and a cinnamon stick till it dries up and turns golden. Some recipes state to use icing sugar instead of regular sugar for the pastry but I think it makes the pastry too soft and falling apart-ish and without enough "bite". Also, I used a food processor to make the dough and added a tiny bit of iced water to bind it up, which worked very well - it had the best "shortness" ever. Also, since I had no moulds, I just pressed balls of dough into a roundish shape and put the jam in the middle to bake - sort of like thumbprint cookies! worked well. However, since this whole project took me close to 3 hours to do - I would recommend making a large amount at a time.
Now...on to our regular meals....
 Above, one of our korean beef and tofu stews, with kimchi and spinach as side dishes.
korean "dakdoritang" which is a chicken, potato and carrot spicy stew. it's not as spicy as it looks though. with radish kimchi and spinach again as side dishes.

1 comment:

Gina E. said...

Nice food! You should take on catering as a side business to help with your savings...but I guess the small kitchen would make that impossible.
Those biscuits sound nice - it looks like rasberry jam in the photo. I don't think I've ever sampled pineapple jam.
What is Kimchi? I find spinach is more palatable if it has something else cooked with it.
Korean beef and tofu sounds great. Again, if I use tofu (rarely because I don't have any good recipes, hint hint!) I prefer to have it with several other ingredients.