I think it’s fair to say that every girl hero worships her father at some time in her life. I was no exception, and would proudly boast that my dad was a racing car driver (he was). I’d also boast that he had a cake shop and that I could have anything I wanted (usually a cream bun or chocolate eclair … or both… and ALWAYS accompanied by a flavoured milk).
These Pineapple Tarts are an ode to the old man. I searched high and low for a recipe for these tarts but couldn’t find one in our extensive cookbook collection, so I rang dad to pick his brain about the way he used to make them at the cake shop. What follows is my first ‘original’ recipe blog post. But they’re not my pineapple tarts; they’re Peters Pineapple Tarts. This recipe makes 24 tarts.
The Tart Shell:
The tart shell is made from a sweet shortcrust pastry. I combine dry ingredients (250gms plain flour, 100gms of icing sugar and a pinch of salt) so that they are well mixed. Into the dry ingredients I grate 100gms very cold butter and toss it through the dry ingredients until the flour mix is grainy, but I allow some slithers of butter to remain unincorporated at this stage. Add 2 eggs into the mix and combine until the dough comes together loosely. Knead lightly until the dough is smooth and all ingredients are incorporated. Don’t over work the dough. Short crust is so named because the gluten in the flour is not allowed to develop (through kneading) and so the strands of gluten are short (as opposed to long … see my Brioche post for an explanation about gluten development).
I rest the dough in the fridge overnight (sealed in a clear plastic zip lock bag or cling wrap) to avoid shrinkage. At this stage I also grease the tin with butter (I use a shallow patty cake tin, as these tarts are best with a domed base) and place it in the fridge. I find that this helps avoid sticking. The next day I roll the pastry to around 3mm thickness and cut rounds to fit the patty tin. Because the patty tin is a shallow dome, it is really easy to line with the pastry rounds and you don’t need to apply any pressure to the pastry. It is best if you handle the pastry very lightly at this stage. These go back in the fridge (sealed in a large plastic bag or cling wrap) over night or until I’m ready to bake them. I am really paranoid about short pastry shrinking on me, so I rest my pastry excessively (this only requires a small amount of planning and breaks the steps down into small parts that can be done over a couple of days).
Before baking the pastry place a generous sploge of crushed pineapple (drained but not dry) in the bottom of the tart shell. Bake in a slow oven (around 150 degrees C) for around 15-20 mins. You don’t need to brown the pastry, you just want it to be cooked. You might have to sacrifice one of the shells to check that it is cooked through (I usually do a quick taste test at this stage).
Cool the tart shells and set aside until needed for construction.
If you over whip cream, you get butter. If you whip butter long enough, and add enough sugar and gelatine … you get mock cream. Mock because it’s not.
To make the Mock Cream (also known as butter cream) whip 250gms of softened butter until it is pale (as white as possible … which is more achievable in a stand mixer with either the paddle attachment or the whisk attachment). I regularly stop the mixer to scrape down the sides so that the butter whips evenly, pale, and smooth. While the butter is whipping away, I make a sugar syrup using 2 tablespoons of milk, 1/4 cup of water, 1 cup castor sugar. On the stove heat these ingredients together in a pan until the sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of gelatine and stir over a low heat until the gelatine is dissolved. Let this cool at room temperature, before adding it to the whipped butter in a steady stream until it is well incorporated. I usually whip the mock cream for another minute, just for good measure.
The icing is a simple icing using 2 and half cups of icing sugar and 1/4 cup of pineapple juice (I use the juice from the tin of crushed pineapple). Stir together to make a thick paste and add yellow food colouring to the desired shade. I generally use minimal amounts of food colouring so my tarts are quite pale, but you could make them really vibrant yellow if you felt so inclined. Set aside until ready to construct.
The fun part. Take a pineapple laden tart shell and using a small palette knife fill it with mock cream and then level off the top. Once all tart shells are filled with the cream, set the icing over a saucepan of simmering water to make it pliable for spreading. Dip each tart in the icing so that the surface of the cream is covered in a layer of icing, use the palette knife to smooth off excess icing. Set the iced tarts on a wire rack (preferably over a tray to catch any icing dripping) to allow the icing to firm up on cooling.
Share (that’s the most important part) with friends over a cuppa and don’t try to stop at one … it’s futile. These pineapple tarts are so dangerously good that they should come with a warning.
This one’s for you … my hero my dad.by