For all of you Seattlites out there, you all know what a perfectly charming day this last day before spring was. It simply swept me off my feet. Well, what better way to celebrate the night before this wonderful day than staying up till 1 AM baking Chinese pineapple cakes.
For those of you who don’t know what Chinese pineapple cakes are, they are sweet crumbly pastries with a delicious pineapple filling. They are extremely popular as gifts for the Chinese/Taiwanese. Below is a picture of a beautiful Chinese pineapple cake.
Of course, the beautiful pineapple cake you see above was probably machine-made. You can easily find Chinese pineapple cakes in Chinese grocery stores. They just won’t be as fresh and delicious (think about it..it’s a cake sitting on a store shelf. Preservatives? Oh yeah).
Anyways, here’s the recipe I used to bake my own Chinese pineapple cakes.
Little Chinese Pineapple Cakes
Makes about twelve 2.5″ cakes
20 oz can crushed or chunked pineapple, drained
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
375 g all purpose flour
50 g powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp cornstarch
220 g unsalted butter, room temperature
3 egg yolks, separated, room temperature
For filling: Heat pineapple and sugar in a small saucepan over low – medium, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add more sugar to taste, the filling will be sweet. When most of the liquid is evaporated and the pineapple is thick and golden, stir in the cornstarch. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
For dough: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, powdered sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Separately, beat the butter with an electric mixer for several minutes until softened, then mix in 2 egg yolks until well combined. Slowly stir in the flour mixture.
The dough will be very crumbly. Turn out onto a cutting board and work gently until dough comes together. Roll out in two sheets.
Put tablespoons of the pineapple filling on one sheet and cover with the second sheet. Use a cookie/biscuit cutter (or the rim of a drinking glass) to cut around each lump of filling.
Brush the cakes with the remaining egg yolk and use a knife to gently cut slits on the tops. Bake cakes for 20 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.
It’s a hard process…when you do it for the first time. But the finished product…unbeatable! Delicious, crumbly pastries with a luxurious pineapple filling.
Would I do this again? Yes
What would I do differently? I think added too much butter so the taste of butter was a bit too strong. The first pineapple cakes I made were way too huge. Moderate sizes are ideal.
Do I recommend this? If you’re looking for a taste-bud satisfying, cultural treat, go for it! If you’re not, still go for it. You will not be disappointed.