Pineapple Cakes are traditionally enjoyed during Lunar New Year celebrations. Little bundles of buttery goodness stuffed with homemade pineapple jam make for a most welcoming treat any time of day, any day of the year.
Known as the Princess of Fruits, the stately pineapple has symbolized hospitality here in the States since the colonial days. Sea-faring folks returned home from the Caribbean bearing exotic spices, rum and tropical fruit. Legend has it that the captain propped a pineapple onto a post near the entrance to his house, announcing his safe return and inviting friends to visit for an evening of story-telling and toasts.
In keeping with Caribbean flavors, rum elevates the richness of pineapple in the filling of each crumbly, buttery package. Every bite takes you closer to a sandy coast crowned with palms swaying in the ocean breeze.
Good food always begins with good ingredients. I have made these pineapple cakes so many times that I can tell you to avoid getting crushed pineapple in the can. Be sure to get the slices canned in natural juice or fresh fruit. You will notice a marked difference when making the jam. So don’t skimp on the quality stuff. The dough is delightful to work with. It is so easy to shape and loads of fun. So grab the kids and be creative. Use molds or encourage the little ones to make cute bears or pigs, whatever they like.
Mini Pineapple Tarts
Note: For the filling, avoid getting crushed pineapple. The best quality are the slices.
Makes 4 dozen 1.5-inch cookies
Prep: 20 mins
Oven: 350 *F
Bake: 20 mins
3 20 oz cans pineapples slices in juice (not syrup)
2 cinnamon sticks
7-8 whole cloves
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup spiced rum
3 sticks butter, @ room temp
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
6 free-range egg yolks, @ room temp (reserve whites for something else like this)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1 whole egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
2 Tb milk
1 tsp sugar
Strain juice and reserve for a cocktail.
Puree pineapple slices and collect in a large pot set over medium flame.
Add cinnamon, cloves, sugar and rum.
Cook 30 mins or until all the liquid has evaporated.
Remove from heat, take cinnamon sticks and cloves out.
Transfer pineapple pulp into strainer for another 30 mins to remove any liquid.
Roll teaspoons (~10 grams each) into little balls and set onto a tray.
Freeze til solid.
Meanwhile, make the dough.
Cream butter with powdered sugar
Incorporate yolks, one at a time
Add vanilla, lemon zest and salt
Sift flour and baking powder over the bowl
Mix very gently by hand just until dry ingredients disappear into the dough
Once the dough comes together, wrap in plastic and chill 30 mins up to several days.
How long you chill the dough depends on your urgency to eat these!
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll a tablespoon of dough (~ 25 grams each) into a ball
Bore a hole in the center with your finger
Place pineapple jam into the hole and wrap cookie dough around it.
Place onto the prepared baking sheet seam-side down.
At this point, you can get creative.
After you stuff the dough with the jam, shape them any way you like.
Use a knife to gently cut criss-cross slits on top of the little balls to minic the pineapple fruit peel.
You can even shape them into little piggies, as we did to celebrate Pinktober!
Preheat oven to 350*F
Brush the tops with egg wash and transfer to hot oven.
Bake 20 mins and enjoy!