Thursday, January 19, 2012
If "There would be no New Year without pineapple tarts!", then as a child I wouldn't have had any Chinese New Year at all. My mother, although she baked (yes, she no longer does, she has indeed 'thrown in the apron'), never made cookies for us kids. Much less the time consuming, finicky, hair pulling invention like the New Year pineapple tart - I don't even remember her buying them. She would sooner get containers of peanut cookies or kuih kapit (love letters).
So why am I going on about pineapple tarts again? With barely three weeks between the first day of 2012 and the first day of the (lazy) Dragon year, with various tasks of the (dreaded) annual spring cleaning stuffed into the calendar while still trying to recover from December, I was seriously contemplating of skipping the cookie baking stint altogether this time. The hours saved can be spent frolicking around Chinatown, spending money on things I most likely will not need and gorging on good dim sum. Then, just then, just when I thought I can adopt that famous trait of the Dragon, the memory of a peanut cookie slowly disintegrating and a pineapple tart melting away in my mouth got me lugging my behind to the market for ingredients.
Just as well, because as I was rolling the peanut cookie balls one night, Mum texted to ask if I will be bringing home some. Then just after I finished jamming five pineapples for two hours, Penny and Shirley got us yakking over Twitter about our pineapple tart recipes, both ladies venturing into the closed and open-faced versions. I stuck with last year's from Lai Kuan and tried my best to improve my hand-rolling skill - there was really no time to experiment with other shapes and pastry formulas, despite having bought a set of traditional metal tart crimper awhile ago. While the process was just as time consuming and laborious as last year, the reward was satisfying as Vijay popped four tarts at one go when I wasn't looking.
There is still time to make these babies if you're up for it. Just switch on the tele to your favorite soap opera and roll away (we watched Sherlock while I was at it). Gong Xi Fah Chai!
Related Chinese New Year recipes:
Pineapple Tarts (凤梨酥/菠萝酥)
Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies (花生饼)
Chinese Chicken Rice
Hakka Tofu Sung (Salted Fish Tofu with Minced Meat, 客家豆腐鬆)
Hakka Salted Steamed Chicken (客家盐鸡)
Har Lok (虾烙): Tiger Prawns with Spicy Fermented Bean Sauce
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