To be honest, I am not a fan of pineapple tarts. Maybe I dislike pie-tart-pastries (unless it uses puff pastry as base) or maybe I dislike how mediocre it is. People will boast so much about them. But as soon as I took the bite, I immediately got turned off; the overly sweetness or the intense tang on my palate.
Not until I was given a few pineapple shortcake squares from Taiwan. I was completely blown away by the crust, the "real" pineapple taste and crush; everything is so well balanced. I know I have to make those. I made everything from scratch without buying pre-made or store-bought pineapple jam because I get to control every single detail. I guess the problem with the pineapples tarts out there is they are being made without tasting. I mean, as a cook or baker, we need to taste every ingredient that we are putting into our final product. From there, we are able to taste and adjust for saltiness, sweetness or tang. I hope you do not mind my ranting.
I am not saying my pineapple shortcakes are anywhere near the ones from Taiwan, but at least the pineapple fillings are well balanced. It is sweet, tang, crunchy and a hint of saltiness. You must be wondering where does the crunch comes from. I get the crunchiness from the pineapple core. Most would discard it, but it is the only part of the pineapple which contains the most fiber and by adding the core into the jam, adds more crunch and nutrients. Anyway, this is my version of the pineapple shortcake, I hope you will enjoy making these in this festive season.
To shape the dough:
After measuring out each dough ball at 15g, dust working surface and your hands generously with flour. Using your palm and hands, gently press and shape the dough into 1 inch disc.
Place the pineapple jam ball in the center of the dough.
Using your thumb and finger, slowly and gently, bring the edge of the dough together.
Using your other hand to slowly spin the bottom of the dough as your other hand (thumb and finger) is bring the dough together, like a pac-man motion.
As you keep repeating the motion, the dough will slowly cover the filling.
Lastly, seal the dough by gently rolling on your working surface into a dough ball. Gently press the dough down with palm of your hands. Using both of your hands to roll the sides to shape into a thick disc, somewhat like a Chinese chess piece.
(Makes 20 shortcakes)
Cinnamon Stick, 1 Inch
Star Anise, 1
Caster Sugar, 40g
Dark Muscovado Sugar, 40g
Maltose Syrup, 50g
Desiccated Coconut, 2 TBSP
Coconut Rum, 2 TBSP
Sea Salt, Pinch
Cake Flour, 125g
Milk Powder, 25g
Sea Salt, 1/2 TSP
Unsalted Butter Softened, 125g
Caster Sugar, 20g
Egg Lightly Beaten, 25g
Egg Wash, 1 Egg Lightly Beaten + 1 TBSP Water
Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
Baking Tray Lined With Parchment Paper
Empty Tea Bag
Prepare the pineapple jam.
Peel the pineapple with a sharp chopping knife.
Divide into 4.
Separate the core from the pineapple.
Finely chop the pineapple and core.
Place them on a strainer to drain out excess juices and liquid.
Set aside for about 15mins.
You should have 750g worth of chopped pineapples.
If you do not have the exact weight, calculate and adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly.
Taste your pineapple before cooking.
If the pineapple is sweet, use less sugar.
If the pineapple is tang, use more sugar.
In a skillet over medium heat, add the chopped pineapple.
Transfer cinnamon, cloves and star anise into an empty tea bag.
Seal tightly and add into the skillet.
Saute until aromatic.
Add in sugar and maltose.
*A quick tip. Maltose syrup is difficult to work with at room temperature. After measuring out, transfer to a heat proof bowl and let steam for about 5 mins or until the maltose is liquify.*
Stir well to combine. Stir, stir, stir.
Continue stirring until the pineapple jam is dry and sticky. It should take about 15 to 20 mins.
Add in desiccated coconut and coconut rum.
*Be careful when adding in the rum, as flame might be ignited in the hot skillet.*
Continue sauteing until the pineapple jam is slightly caramelized.
Lastly, add salt.
Taste and adjust for sweetness and tang.
If it is too sweet, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
If it is too tang, add more sugar and season lightly with salt.
Remove from heat.
Set aside to cool down completely.
*On a side note, you can add a cup of water to deglaze the skillet. Bring it up to a simmer. Transfer into a cup. Add in a tea bag. You have a fine pineapple tea.*
While the pineapple mixture is cooling down, prepare the dough.
In a mixing bowl, sift together cake flour and milk powder.
Add in salt and stir to combine well.
In another large mixing bowl, using a fork, cream butter until light and fluffy.
Add in sugar and cream until well combined.
Add in egg.
Lightly whisk until the mixture is light and creamy. Whisk, whisk, whisk.
Add 1/3 portion of the flour mixture.
Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
Keep folding until mixture is well combine.
Repeat this process until all the mixture is combine and come together as a dough.
Transfer onto a cling film.
Wrap and let it firm up in the fridge for at least 40 mins to an hr.
After the pineapple jam has cooled down.
Measure 15g for each portion.
Roll each portion into a ball and place them on a plate.
Cover with cling film and let it firm up in the fridge at least an hour.
Assemble the shortcake.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius or 340 fahrenheit.
Divide the dough in half and place the other half in the fridge until ready to use.
Measure 15g for each portion.
Roll each portion into balls.
Follow the above directions and photos in shaping the shortcakes or you can check out my Instagram highlights.
*Note that the butter in the dough will melt very fast. If you find that the dough is difficult to work with, dust some flour, roll into a ball and shape again.
After shaping each shortcake, place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Repeat the process until all the shortcakes are shaped.
Lightly brush the shortcakes with egg wash with a pastry brush.
Wack into the oven and bake for 10 mins.
Remove from oven and flip the shortcakes.
*It is best to flip the shortcakes with 2 spatula. They are at its most vulnerable stage, so treat them with tender love and care,*
Brush with egg wash.
Wack into the oven and bake for the final 8 to 10 mins or until it is golden yellow.
Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.
The shortcakes taste better the next day.