Chinese New Year is round the corner again! It just seemed like yesterday that I celebrated Christmas and New Year... Don't you think so?
This year I'm making pineapple tarts again. I did not try making the jam from scratch - couldn't find the time to do so and I was worried that I'd fail in the making of the jam. So I ended up buying ready-made jam. /:
I made a trial batch last weekend - the tarts tasted really sweet on the first day, however, they don't taste as sweet the next day. I can't figure out why is that so but oh well, I'm glad they turned out delicious in the end! Can't stop popping them into my mouth... (looks at waist line with a worried face)
Anyway, why a trial batch? Well, I played around with the second most important ingredient in the making of pineapple tarts (the first being the pineapple jam) - the butter.
The three competing butters!
Last year I tried between Anchor butter and SCS butter. SCS butter won hands-down. So, I read up more about butter this year and decided to conduct a trial again - with SCS butter (which was what I used last year), Elle et Vire butter and Lurpark butter. I bought them from SunLik.
Here are their prices (as of 15 January 2012):
- SCS unsalted butter - 250 grams $3.50 each
- Elle et Vire unsalted butter - 200 grams $3.50 each
- Lurpark unsalted butter - 250 grams $5 each
SCS and Lurpark are also available at NTUC, at a higher price (as of 15 January 2012):
- SCS unsalted butter - 225 grams $3.65 each (fluctuates, normally pricier than this)
- Lurpark unsalted butter - 250 grams $5.95 each
I didn't manage to check out other baking stores (like Phoon Huat), if I check it out I'll update it here!
SCS butter is the local, Singapore butter. It's a butter that I've grown up with - my mom used to buy it for baking and I'd always seen a slab of this butter at coffee shops (to be spread on toasted bread with kaya!). Due to inflation and rising food prices, the price of this butter has been climbing steadily over the years. Even my mom kept saying that this butter used to be one of the better and cheaper butters around.
Elle et Vire is a French butter - and everyone knows that French, is all about butter. It's apparently a Normandy butter (correct me if I'm wrong), and Normandy butters are reputedly one of the best butter around. It's a bit more expensive than SCS, but if it's that good, I wouldn't mind spending the extra buck!
Lurpark butter is a Danish butter - and it's actually my favourite butter! I always remember hotels serving this brand of butter in their small, individual packets. However, I usually don't buy this for baking because it. is. so. expensive! At almost 1.5 times of SCS and Elle et Vire butter, it costs really a bomb.
I've read that Président butter is also quite popular - though I don't remember seeing the butter being sold in supermarkets before (guess I wasn't looking hard enough). I'll probably try it out next time (maybe bake a butter cake or something)!
And here are the reviews for the butter!
They look the same side by side... but do they taste the same as well?
Because the main ingredient of the crust is butter, the smell of the butter is really strong when the pineapple tarts are baking. SCS butter is very milky - the whole house was filled with a very strong milk smell when I baked the pineapple tarts. I'm not very fond of milk, so the smell really gets to me. After baking, I didn't even felt like eating my own tarts any more! One bite of it and I can really taste the milk taste in the tart, it's very subtle, but it's definitely there - as if I've added milk powder into the making of the crust. If you are a fan of milky pineapple crusts, you may like to use this butter.
Elle et Vire and Lurpark:
Unlike SCS butter, these two type of tarts do not have a strong milky smell while baking. They don't taste milky either. They are also richer and more buttery than the tarts made using SCS butter. The tarts that I made using the Elle et Vire butter are really melt-in-the-mouth. They simply crumble and melt away in the mouth. The Lurpark pineapple tarts are crusty at first, before melting away in the mouth. I'm not sure if it's because of the butter or my technique...
The Elle et Vire and Lurpark butter triumph over the SCS butter. Between the two, my family, X, my friend and I felt that Lurpark pineapple tarts tasted slightly richer than the Elle et Vire ones, so I guess Lurpark is the winner! However, if price is a factor in consideration, I'll definitely go for the Elle et Vire butter - much cheaper and the taste doesn't lose much to Lurpark's!
So... which is your favourite butter? Do recommend me so I can try it out in the future! (:
Update 10 Jan 2023: I have been using this recipe for more than 10 years and I'm still loving it. But I just realised that there's no step-by-step photos (or I accidentally deleted them). Will update the recipe to include them after this year's attempt!
Chinese New Year Pineapple Tarts
- 2-4 egg yolks
- Divide the pineapple filling - a teaspoon or approximately 6-7 grams each. Roll into a ball then roll into a small log shape. If the jam becomes too sticky and hard to handle, dip your fingertips in water and continue - it'll be easier to handle after that. Chill the rolled pineapple balls.
- Make the tart dough - Sift the plain flour, salt, corn flour and icing sugar in a clean bowl.
- Place the unsalted butter in another bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream the mixture for 30 seconds on low speed and turn the speed up to medium-high and cream for 5 minutes, scraping the sides occasionally until the butter is light, creamy, fluffy and pale in colour.
- Beat egg yolks in a small bowl. While the electric mixer is running on low, drizzle in the beaten egg yolks. Turn up the speed to medium and cream until the egg yolks has been fully incorporated into the butter.
- Using a huge rubber spatula or metal spoon, fold in the flour mixture in two batches gently until just incorporated. Do not over-mix or over work the dough - otherwise you will lose the melt-in-the-mouth texture.
- Lay a large piece of clingfilm / plastic wrap on the table. Turn the dough out onto the plastic wrap and wrap it up. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Combine the egg yolks with 1 to 2 teaspoons of water / milk until it's a smooth consistency. Set aside.
Wrapping and Baking
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Line a baking sheet (or several baking sheets if you have a small oven like me) with baking paper. Set aside. Prepare a small dish with water.
- Divide the chilled dough - 1 heaping teaspoon or approximately 10 - 12 grams each. Roll them into rounds and flatten them. Dip the chilled pineapple ball into a little bit of water (enough to moisten the outside of the pineapple ball but not drench them). This will keep the pineapple filling moist and not dry out while baking. Place the pineapple ball in the middle of the flattened dough and enclose it. Shape it into a log / desired shape and place it on the lined baking sheet.
- Brush the top of the pineapple tarts with a layer of egg wash and bake for 15 minutes. Brush with a second layer of egg wash (if needed) and bake for another 5 minutes, until the top is golden brown in colour.
- Cool the tarts completely and store them in an airtight container.
- If you don't like sweet pineapple filling or want them to have a tangy taste, mix in several teaspoons of lemon juice into the pineapple filling before rolling them into balls.
- You may wind up with extra pineapple jam, just snack on them!
- Use the best quality butter for a rich, sinful, buttery taste.