Chinese New Year ushers in the second biggest festive season for my family. 15 days of crazy relatives, manic chaos and boundless indulgence to be precise. Perhaps my favourite of these are my mum’s homemade pineapple tarts, little golden treats of pure heaven!
Exceptionally time consuming and readily available in most Asian stores, making them at home and possibly by hand has become quite a rare art. A buttery shortbread dough is individually cut with a cookie cutter, pressed with a traditional mould, topped with a caramelised pineapple jam and baked to golden perfection. Deliciously insatiable, my mum has resulted to hiding boxes of them around the house in the desperate hope that there just might be some left for the big day!
My Valentine’s Day surprise to Mr. J this year was a humble one. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so taking this advice wholeheartedly, I’ve secretly baked his favourite dessert, strawberry tart of course!
I pride myself to be a pretty decent cook, baking on the other hand has never been my forte. Precision and exact measurements have never been my thing instead, being the recipe whore that I am, I prefer to mix and match whatever I google! However, on this occasion all that freestyling back fired, in the midst of combining 3 recipes I forgot to add the egg to the pastry (I kneaded for ages and added tonnes more butter but couldn’t figure out why the dough wouldn’t bind)!
While I suspect my base will be extra rich and buttery (probably more crumbly too), other than that little mishap, everything else went smoothly. The filling is a simple mascarpone combined with sugar and lemon juice while the strawberries have been glazed with a raspberry compote with a little gelatine. I would have loved to share this recipe, if only I knew exactly what was actually in it!
A successful surprise: He ended having a quarter of the tart for breakfast!