Pineapple tarts are synonymous with the Chinese New Year celebration. One can never deny the importance of the pineapple jam in these cookies. It has to be tart yet not sour, not overpoweringly sweet and most importantly, it must taste like pineapple. You may think the latter is obvious but if you buy ready-made jam, the taste is mild. If you have tasted homemade pineapple tarts, you will immediately know the difference.

Why is homemade pineapple jam the best?

Just like all recipes, you can always adapt the taste to your liking. Homemade pineapple jam does not have added preservatives. You know that it is always fresh. Most importantly, the amount of sugar required can be reduced or replaced with a healthier sweetener. However, the best way to guarantee sweet tasting jam begins with a sweet pineapple.

1. How to choose pineapples?

Ripe pineapples are the best when it comes to making naturally sweet jams. Pineapples will not continue to ripen after being picked. Therefore you have to pick those that fulfill these 3 factors:

a. Colour: Ripe pineapples are golden-yellow in colour. The colour usually starts from the base. Pineapples are sweeter if the golden yellow colour is uniformed right up to the crown.

b. Skin: It should be firm but not hard. Juicy pineapples have skin that is supple.

c. Smell: You must be able to smell the sweetness of the pineapples when put close to your nose. Take a whiff and if you do not detect the scent, they are the ones you should not buy.

2. Using canned pineapples

Canned pineapples make the job easier. Grannies might not be happy but here is the secret. Canned pineapples are just as good as fresh pineapples. Once made into jams, you would not even notice the difference.

3. Chop, grate or blend?

Chopping pineapples
Chopping pineapples

Chopping or grating the pineapples give the best flavours and texture. Why? They are in small chunks. This results in a juicier jam. When it comes to blended pineapples, the jam is drier although it does saves a lot of time compared to the earlier mentioned methods.

4. Sweetening pineapple jam

Pineapple jam has a golden tint to its appearance. Hence, you should not add palm sugar or brown sugar which will darken the colour. Instead, use table sugar or rock sugar. Table sugar has a more intense sweetness compared to rock sugar which is more subtle.

5. Extra pineapple juice

If you blend the pineapples, there will be a lot of juice. Cook the pineapples along with the juice for a more intense fruity flavour and also to use its natural sugar.

6. Adding spices to jam

Adding some aromatics such as cloves, star anise and cinnamon enhance the flavour of the pineapple jam. This is most commonly done in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Go easy on the spices or it may lead to a strong overpowering smell and taste.

Now, you are ready with really tasty pineapple jam. The only question left is, which type of pineapple tart will you make? Which of the following would you try?

Type Description Why choose this type?
Peranakan Pineapple Tarts A lightly dense dough with flaky texture, almost like a pie crust. Traditional Peranakan recipe. Not commonly found these days.
Foolproof Pineapple Tarts Crumbly, soft and light texture. Prefer the light crumbly biscuit texture. Used to the commonly available pineapple tarts.
Taiwanese Pineapple Cake Softer crust with added almond flour. The jam has a hint of buttery taste too. A less crispier crust as it is more tender compared to the others.