I hope my Malaysian aunties will forgive me for giving this traditional Chinese New Year pastry a bit of a makeover with a lighter crust and a zest of lime rather than the usual cloves.
For the pineapple jam
1 large pineapple (about 1.5kg)
150g castor sugar
zest and juice of 1 lime
For the pastry
300g plain flour
90g icing sugar, plus extra, for dusting
¼ tsp salt
200g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes, plus an extra 10g, melted, for brushing tins
grated zest of 1 lime (1 tsp)
1 large egg yolk, plus 1 large egg for glazing
20ml ice-cold water
1. For the jam, peel the pineapple, remove core and chop flesh into roughly 4cm to 5cm pieces (you should have around 700g). Pulse pineapple flesh in a food processor to form a coarse purée. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, but do not press down on the purée; the aim is simply to remove excess juice.
2. Combine the pineapple purée, sugar, lime zest and lime juice in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium, bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes with a wooden spoon. You may need to lower the heat a bit, and stir more frequently as the mixture thickens, to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan. It will be ready when it is a thick golden paste (thicker than regular jam) and holds its shape when spooned on to a plate. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool. Store in the fridge (for up to two weeks) until ready to assemble the tarts.
3. For the pastry, sift together the flour, icing sugar and salt and place in a food processor. Add the butter and lime zest, then pulse a few times until the mixture is the consistency of breadcrumbs. Lightly whisk together the egg yolk and water, and add this to the mix, pulsing just to combine.
4. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface – it will be quite wet and sticky. Dust your hands lightly with flour, and press or pat gently to form a ball, then divide the pastry into two. Wrap each half loosely in cling film and press gently to form two flattish discs. The dough will be soft and must be chilled for at least an hour (and up to 3 days) before using. (You will only be using one disc for these tarts. Freeze the other for another time.)
5. Brush the moulds of a 12-hole patty pan lightly with melted butter and set aside.
6. Place one chilled pastry disc from the fridge onto a lightly floured surface. Remove the cling wrap, then tap the pastry all over with a lightly floured rolling pin to soften slightly before rolling out until 2mm thick. Using a 7cm cookie cutter, stamp out 12 circles and place one in each greased mould. Gather the pastry offcuts and press together, then wrap in cling film and return to the fridge (they will be rolled out to form lids for the tarts later).
7. Preheat oven to 180C.
8. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the pineapple jam into each pastry case (note: the cases are not blind-baked). Level the surface with the back of a teaspoon.
9. Set the tray aside in a cool place while you roll out the pastry for the "lids": roll out the offcut pastry ball of dough to about 2mm thickness. Stamp out circles (or other shapes) or cut into strips to form a lattice design. Place the pastry circles or strips to form a "lid" or lattice on top of each tart. Brush the beaten egg over the pastry top (avoiding contact with the pineapple jam).
10. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown all over.
11. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Use a sieve to dust tarts with extra icing sugar.
These tarts will keep, loosely wrapped in foil, for 3 to 4 days, though the jammy filling means they will get a bit softer over time.