Pineapple Jam – 4 Simple Tips

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I am really glad that I made the switch to homemade pineapple jam and it is not as difficult as I have imagined.  I always thought that I would either burn the jam or scald myself while stirring the bubbling, boiling hot jam.  But after several attempts, I am glad that none of that happened, what’s more, I have discovered 4 simple tips that make the cooking of pineapple jam not so tedious (or risky.)

01. Cut down the prepping time

Yes, the jam recipe I am using still takes at least 2 hours to cook, but what I am suggesting is to cut down the time taken to prepare the fresh pineapples before grating them.  It is extremely helpful get the fruit seller to have the crown, skin and “eyes” removed, this would take away an hour or so of preparation time, depending on how many pineapples you are using.

02. Cook the jam in a enameled dutch oven

I cook 2 medium size pineapples each time in my 20cm dutch oven pot.  Most recipes state to cook the jam in a non-reactive pot, due to the acidity of the pineapples.  Instead of stainless steel pots which are the most common non reactive cookware, I find that the enameled cast iron pot distributes heat more evenly, very important for jam recipes which require long hours of boiling and and even longer simmering.  Even after the sugar has caramelized, the jam does not stick to the pot easily, scoring extra brownie points as I prefer my jam really sticky for my enclosed pineapple tarts, which means that I tend to cook my jam much longer than stated in the recipe stated.  If you are making open face tarts, the pineapple jam can be less sticky as they will be cooked further under direct heat in the oven with the tart pastry.

03. Add sugar only after the liquid from the grated pineapples has been reduced first

Some recipes ask to combine and cook all the ingredients from the beginning, which would require the cook to stand next to the stove from start-to-end, stirring all the time, so that the jam will not burn due to the sugar.  Thanks to Wendy, I have never once burnt my jam with her tip to add sugar only when the pineapple mixture has almost dry up after the first round of boiling and simmering.

04. Core or no core?

Lastly, some recipes suggest to discard the tough core of the pineapple, and only use the juicy part to make the jam.  That may be true for making spread where you want the jam to be as jelly smooth as possible.  But for pineapple tarts, not only do I like the jam sticky, I like it fibrous as well, as evident in the photo of the end product above.  So I use the core and all, hand grated with the largest size hole on my Daiso grater, instead of the food processor way, to produce jam with a more fibrous texture.  So if you find my jam texture too tough to your liking, either omit the core in your cooking, or use food processor to blend the fruit into a finer texture.

Do you have any other tips to share?

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PINEAPPLE JAM
ADAPTED FROM : TABLE FOR 2 OR MORE & TRAVELLING FOODIES

2 fresh pineapples (skin, "eyes" removed)
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves
½ star anise
150g-200g raw sugar
2-4 tablespoons lemon juice

METHOD

01. Grate pineapples including the fibrous cores using a grater with a relatively large size hole.

02. Cook the grated pineapple pulp, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise in a wide mouth, non reactive cooking pot till the mixture boils.  Turn down the heat to medium and let it simmer and the liquid will start to evaporate.

03. Once the runny mixture has been reduced to a thick consistency, add sugar and lemon juice, amount depending on how sweet/sour your pineapple is, and how sweet/sour you want your jam to be.  This addition will turn the sticky jam into a runny mixture again, continue cooking at medium heat to let the liquid reduce for a second time, stirring all the time with wooden spoon to prevent the sugar/jam from getting burnt.

04.  When the liquid has almost dry out, turn up the heat, this time to caramelize the jam and turn the pale yellow mixture into golden yellow paste.  Remove from heat when you are happy with the color/texture of the jam, and let it cool completely.  Do note that the jam will dry up further during the cooling stage.

Small Batch Baking : Pineapple Tarts 黄梨酥 for Chinese New Year

pineappletarts // mono+co

I used the open-filling pineapple tart pastry recipe from here and shape the tarts into a kueh nastar look-alike, following Billy Law’s vimeo instructions.

The end result: 27 delicious melt in the mouth morsels.


PINEAPPLE TARTS
// Adapted from A Spoonful Of Sugah
// Yields 27 tarts

170g plain flour
10g corn flour
1 tablespoon icing sugar
125g salted butter, cold
1/4 egg, cold
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon cold water
Pineapple Jam, store bought.

METHOD

01. Measure plain flour in small mixing bowl first.  Add icing sugar.  Sieve this mixture into a large mixing bowl.
02. Measure cornflour in small mixing bowl.  Sieve to combine with plain flour and sugar.
03. Transfer sieved flour and sugar mixture into the small mixing bowl.
04. Sieve mixture one more time into the large mixing bowl.
// {The instructions above simply read : Sieve plain flour + icing sugar + corn flour, twice.  I am merely trying to reduce the cleaning up efforts after baking}
05. Crack egg into a separate small bowl, beat it.  Pour half of this into another bowl, and then half  it again, to get 1/4 egg.  Reserve another 3 tablespoons of the remaining egg in a sauce dish for egg wash later.  Balance can be kept aside for other recipe.
06. Stir vanilla extract to the 1/4 egg and mix well. {I prepare egg+vanilla mixture first so that I can add this into the dough mixture straight after rubbing in the flour.  The fingers would be too oily handle and measure the egg and vanilla extract later.)
07. Next, measure cold butter (I simply use half a stick of 250g Lurapak), and cut it up into small pieces on a plate.
08. Add the butter into the flour and swiftly rub butter into flour with clean fingertips until mixture resemble yellow bread crumbs.
// IMPORTANT {DO NOT OVERDO THIS STEP.  THE TEMPERATURE FROM THE FINGERS COULD MELT THE BUTTER.}
09. Fingers will be messy with butter and flour.  With a pastry scraper, scrap the bits stuck on fingers back into the bowl.  The butter is too good and expensive to be wasted!
10. Add egg + vanilla mixture, mix with a metal spoon.
11. Add 1 tablespoon of icy cold water and mix again.  A soft dough ball should now form; a bit too wet to be shaped by hands, but dry enough not to stick onto the mixing spoon.
12. Chill dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
13. While the dough is chilling, roll pineapple jam into tiny balls, arrange them on a plate. (I used the one that I cut my butter on, to save washing one more plate)
14. Preheat oven to 150C.
15. After 30 minutes, remove dough from fridge and wrap the pineapple jam into the dough like this. (8g jam/ 12g dough)
16. Arrange tarts on baking tray.  Use a fork to draw lines on top of the tarts. Egg wash surface of tarts.
17. Bake in preheated oven at 150C for 20minutes.
18. Cool completely before storing in an air tight container.