Foodie

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pineapple Tart Filling

Ever since i owned a microwave oven in 1986, i have been using it alot to aid my cooking and it is the most used appliance in my kitchen.  I would not have made or cooked so often if i have to slave on a stovetop for hours on end.  The microwave has allowed me to cook faster without having to attend to the cooking and allowing me time to fulfil other tasks and the best part is that i do not have extra pots and pans for cleaning.  This time of the year is always busy, busy, especially when the Chinese New Year is just 2 weeks away and it means that it is time to bake Pineapple Tarts which is a must for this celebration.  Why Pineapple Tarts??? Chinese is a tonal language and punning based on tones is very common. The word for 'pineapple' in Hokkien dialect 'ong la i' is also a pun for the "king" (ong ) or "prosperity"(ong) and "comes" (la i) i.e. hopes for royally rich or a prosperity year to come!  Before the pineapple tarts can be made, the filling has to be cooked first and i am sharing How to cook it in the Microwave.
I use crushed pineapple for the pineapple tart filling

Drain juice from crushed pineapple and process until fine

I use a bowl but a cup or whatever is ok, to measure the amount of processed pineapple -1 bowl/cup pinneapple pulp to 1 bowl/cup sugar, 3/4 bowl/cup will be acceptable as canned pineapple tend to be sweeter than fresh ones

Put the processed pineapple into a large microwave-safe bowl

Measure the amount of sugar with the same bowl/cup used to measure the processed pineapple

Add cinnamon sticks and cloves to the sugar and pineapple mixture and cook in the microwave.  Cook it for a longer period if you have a large amount

With this amount of sugar and processed pineapple, i cook for 10 minutes, stir after every cycle and continue another two more 10 minutes and stir.  I have a 900 watts microwave oven and if your microwave has a higher wattage, use shorter time and also it depends on how dry the processed pineapple is drained.  I do not drained until too dry cos i like the flavor of the pineapple in the juice.  When the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the time to 5 minutes and so forth, until filling thick and caramelized.

After every cycle of cooking, remove from the microwave oven and stir well to distribute the heat

After stirring, continue to cook in the microwave until filling has thicked and caramelized

Pineapple filling has thickened and caramelized.  It will be more dry when it hs been cooled, so do not cook until too dry otherwise the filling will be too hard after the tarts are baked.  If you have gone too dry when cooking, just add in a little water and give it a buzz or two to heat the water

Allow the cooked pineapple filling to cool before removing the cloves and cinnamon sticks.  Caution:  cooked pineapple filling is very hot, handle with extreme care.  When cooled, store in air-tight container.  This filling can be prepared ahead and can be frozen until needed.

Tip:  When the filling cooled, adjust the taste with lime/lemon juice and some salt will bring out the flavor of the pineapple
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