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The tarts disappeared so quickly! The boys would bring the container of tarts around and munch wherever they went. Jon and I kept taking a piece every time we walked past too. Before we knew it, there were none left!

So how? No choice but to make more!

We started at 830pm, and at midnight we were still making tarts! Gosh.

And for the first time, Jon helped us! I’ve never ever seen Jon help with baking before, so it was definitely a photoworthy moment.

The tarts continue to disappear. We intended to keep some tarts for our friends to try, but it looks like the jar will be empty by the time we meet them!

Round 2

Round 2

Smiley face!

Smiley face!

Jon helping with baking!!

Jon helping with baking!!

Father-son bonding :)

Father-son bonding :)

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After last year’s successful pineapple tart baking session which yielded what is, purely in my opinion, the best pineapple tarts around, my Mum and aunts decided to assemble for a pineapple tart session this year too! I was already planning to bake them again this year anyway since I couldn’t bear the thought of eating any other pineapple tarts ;O)

It took a really really really long time to bake 3 batches. The tarts are not difficult to make, just time consuming. We joked that we can’t make a business of this because it’s just too much effort for too little money! After about 9 hours of work, we made only slightly over 300 tarts – enough to fill 7-9 containers. After deducting for costs and manpower, there’s really no point. BUT. For personal consumption, it’s so worth it.

We started from after lunch, and carried on till after dinner. It was a multi-generational effort. My grandaunt, mum, aunt, me, Asher and Ellery all at one point helped to make tarts. A fun day of bonding!

Mummy rolling out the dough

Mummy rolling out the dough

Tried to let Alyssa play with flour but...

Tried to let Alyssa play with flour but…

She ended up eating it so that was the end of that plan

She ended up eating it so that was the end of that plan

The neat tarts my mum and aunts made

The neat tarts my mum and aunts made

The messy tarts the kids made :)

The messy tarts the kids made :)

My mum even made a dragon for Ellery!

My mum even made a dragon for Ellery!

It was actually very crisp and yummy!

It was actually very crisp and yummy!

Baking with Por Por!

Baking with Por Por!

The underpaid workers

9hours later but still happy as tarts!

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I have fond memories of the one time I made pineapple tarts with my mum when I was a teenager.  I remember how fun it was to shape and decorate the tarts.  My mum and I have always enjoyed baking together, and we had a tendency to start baking late at night and continue past midnight.  Don’t know why, it always just happened that way.  It was always nice chatting with her though, a good time of bonding.

So this year I wanted to let the boys have a go at making pineapple tarts.  When I had made tarts with my mum,  I remember she had made the pineapple jam from scratch which was an enormous amount of work!  I was very sure I wanted to skip the arduous task of making my own jam, so bought the Red Man brand premium pineapple jam from Phoon Huat.  The premium version is made from only good quality, ripe pineapples, whereas the cheaper version (can’t remember what it’s called on the packet) is made from any pineapple.

I am picky about my pineapple tarts.  If I like it I can eat many at a go, but if I don’t like it I gag at having to finish even one yucky pineapple tart.  I know most people nowadays like the closed pineapple tarts, and some shops seem to only sell that version.  I really really don’t like that kind of pineapple tart.  It’s too soft and mushy.  Even the most crisp of them on the outside and still too soft on the inside.  It’s like a sticky mess in the mouth when you eat it.  Same goes for the open pineapple tarts.  Once someone says it’s so yummy because it “melts in your mouth”, I can pretty much guess it’s the kind I don’t like.

I like an open tart that has a a crisp pastry.  None of that melty, sticky business please.  So I scoured the internet for a recipe that I liked.  Almost all of them touted the soft melt-in-the-mouth kind.  Skip.

Finally I stumbled upon a recipe at Papa Cooks! for a Nyonya pineapple tart that is cripsy.  His description of how the tarts ought to be like told me it was just the kind of tart I was looking for.  The fact the the recipe was also passed down from his aunt who is regarded as the master of pineapple tarts in his family also won me over.

So I bought my ingredients and settled the boys down to an evening of baking.  The recipe is easy enough, and the tarts came out perfect!  The boys and I ate sooo many.  I thought we had made a ton of pineapple tarts and was wondering who we could give them away to.  But once I tasted them and saw how the boys scarfed them down, I wondered if we had enough to give away at all!

They certainly had a great time making the tarts.  They did everything, and I only helped a little bit.  They mixed the ingredients, cut out the dough, did the egg wash, rolled the balls of jam, placed it on the tarts and did the decorations (which were very funny :)  not traditional at all, but full of humour and love).

I love their decorations!

I love their decorations!

At one point they kept saying they wanted to make a giant pineapple tart, and they each proceeded to shape a tart way bigger than the usual size.  They topped it with a ton of pineapple filling as well.  After the tarts were baked, Asher struck an agreement with me that he was going to have just 3 tarts since it was already late.  He started with his giant tart which was equivalent to five tarts.  When I said he was done, he asked me innocently, “but what about the other 2?”  I laughed and told him nice try.  But in the end he won, the tarts were so good, he ate way more than 3 (including the giant tart)!

Scooping a giant jam ball

Scooping a giant jam ball

Asher's giant tart

Asher’s giant tart

Ellery's giant tart

Ellery’s giant tart

See how big the giant tarts are!

See how big the giant tarts are!

I’d definitely want to make these again next year, but will make sure we start much earlier in the day.  The recipe is easy, but putting the tart together takes a lot a lot of time.

Anyway here is the recipe adapted from Papa Cooks!:

Pastry Ingredients:
– 500g plain flour
– 300g unsalted butter (slightly softened)
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp salt
– 2 tbsp icing sugar
– 1 egg yolk (for use as the egg wash)

Making the dough:
1.  Mix the flour, icing sugar and salt together in a large bowl.

2.  Using a fork, scrape the flour and butter together until it resembles bread crumbs.  Using a fork prevents the butter from melting too fast, spoiling the pastry.

2.  Add the eggs and still using the fork, gently coax all the crumbs together until they just bind into a dough. Do not over mix the dough.  This is crucial to ensure the pastry will be crispy after baking.

3.  Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Assembling the Tart:
1.  Pre-heat your oven at 175 degrees Celcius.

2.  While the dough is refrigerating, roll the pineapple jam into small balls (use your cutter to estimate the correct size the jam balls should be – not too big, not too small).

3.  Take chunks of dough, squash them with your palm into the desired thickness.  (This is the kid-friendly method.  Using rolling pins just means more washing up, and fighting over who gets to roll it.  I like to let each kid have his own baking sheet so that they have their own space and can squash their own dough.)

4.  Cut the dough using the pineapple tart shaped cookie cutter, arrange neatly onto the baking tray and brush with egg wash.

5.  Put the jam balls onto the tarts, adjusting the size of the jam balls if necessary.

6.  Decorate the tarts however you want, traditional or otherwise, then egg wash the whole tart again.

7.  Pop into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the tarts turn golden brown.

They each did their own half of the tray.  This was just tray #1.

They each did their own half of the tray. This was just tray #1.

Ready for the eating! (and one already eaten)

Ready for the eating! (and one already eaten)

Pleased as pineapple

Pleased as pineapple

"Good" he says approvingly

“Good” he says approvingly

My first attempt at a photo grid!

My first attempt at a photo grid!

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Asher’s 3rd CNY and Ellery’s 1st.

We didn’t plan for it, but our family ended up being very ang-ang and stripey this year.  My brother’s family turned up in blues & yellows.  And my parents’ choices matched us all perfectly – my Mum in blue, my Dad in dark blue with red & white stripes :)  How coincidentally coordinated!

Think we are all more pro now, heh, even though we all have more kids in tow we could still make it there pretty early and managed a good pace of visiting.

Plus two (Heather & Ellery) to make ten of us!

We discovered that Asher can peel oranges by himself.  He’s a fruitarian.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

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There was a CNY celebration in school and the kids were requested to come in CNY garb.  We borrowed a set from Aidan, and Asher practised some kungfu moves in it.  He was actually pretending to be the squirrel in Ice Age 3 fighting off the pirahnnas trying to get the acorn :)

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