Friday, August 24, 2007
Cooking Pineapple Filling for use in Pineapple Tarts
Cooking the pineapple filling: Here, I am cooking pineapple filling for my pineapple tarts. The pineapple pulp has to be cooked till semi-dry so that it can be rolled into small balls later. To speed up the cooking process, sometimes I use a wide and shallow cooking pan and cook at high heat (keep stirring). When the pineapple pulp is almost dry, I lower the heat to prevent it from burning.
If I don't have the time to stand next to the stove and stir the pulp, I'd leave the pulp to cook on low to medium heat in a non-stick pot and stir it occasionally till it is semi-dry.
Adding the sugar: I add in the sugar towards the end of the cooking process, when the pulp is almost done (as seen in the video). Adding the sugar too early in the process causes the sugar to caramelize and be burnt.
After the sugar is added, this is the stage where the filling has to be stirred constantly because it burns easily. It takes experience to know when to stop cooking the filling. If the filling is not cooked long enough, it will be wet and difficult to roll into small balls later. If overcooked, it will be hard and dry. It will be even harder and drier later when exposed to high heat in the oven (to be baked with the cookie dough). It's hard to describe in words what the consistency of a good pineapple filling should be. That's why I posted the above video.
Chill: To further firm up the pineapple filling, cover and chill it overnight.
The above shows cooked pineapple filling - a lovely golden colour.
Rock sugar: A reader told me that using rock sugar (instead of granulated) helps prolong the shelf life of the pineapple filling. I have never used rock sugar to cook pineapple filling but this is an ingredient worth exploring as I've heard that rock sugar tastes better than granulated sugar.
Commercially bought pineapple filling: To make truly delicious pineapple tarts, it is very important to use homemade pineapple filling. But if you do not have time to do so, you can use commercially produced ones. Commercially produced pineapple filling is usually a little harder in texture, as compared to homemade ones. And after baking it, the heat dries it up and hardens it further. To remedy this, here's what you can do:
Cook the commercially bought pineapple filling with some canned pineapple juice (the 'Lee' brand which is available at supermarkets, go to the section where all the Yeo's canned drinks are) till the filling becomes a little softer. You can also add a little freshly squeezed lemon juice so that the filling is not so sweet. It's not possible for me to say exactly how much to add in, because much depends on your taste. So taste the pineapple filling as you cook, and adjust according to your tastebuds! After you've cooked the filling with the canned juice, the filling will be softer and more moist.
These are some of the pineapple tarts I baked.