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Celebrate Chinese New Year with Pineapple Tarts

Pineapple Tarts
Makes 2 dozen cookies (depending on size of cookie cutter)

Tart Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 6 minutes with a hand-held.

Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Chill dough on a baking sheet until firm, at least 4 hours.

Roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick. Cut out with a fluted round cutter and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 8-10 minutes. Cool on sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely.

Pineapple Jam
2 large pineapples
1/3 cup water
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Peel and cut pineapples into chunks. Do not discard the core. This part has the most fiber.

Place half the pineapple chunks in a food processor or blender and add 1/3 cup of water.  Blintz until there are no chunks and the mixture is liquid.

Pour 80 percent of the blended mixture into a large saucepan. (Leave some liquid in the processor to help the blending process.)

Repeat process with the rest of the pineapple until they are all blended.

Cook the pineapple with the cinnamon stick on medium high heat until very pasty, like thick oatmeal, stirring only occasionally.

Once the pineapple reaches this stage, add sugar. This will turn the mixture watery again.

Turn down heat to low-medium, stir once in a while but keep an eye on it so as not to burn.

When it becomes a paste consistency increase the heat to high. Don’t stir and let the base get some colour. This will caramelize the jam. Stir once in a while to check on the colour .

When jam reaches a light amber colour, take off heat.  Let cool. Jam with thicken further upon cooling.

To assemble the tart
Scoop out your pineapple jam and place it in the middle of your cooled tart.

Pastry Chef Notes:
This mixture is very hot and splatters. Use an oven mitt when stirring to prevent burns.

Total cooking time is approximately 3 to 4 hours but the results are worth it so don’t be put off by the amount of time it takes.

This recipe makes more jam than required for the recipe. Store remaining jam in a covered container in your fridge. It would be delicious on buttered toast or vanilla ice cream.

Photo:  Executive Chef Margaret Chisholm

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