Pineapple Tarts (鳳梨酥)

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For this month’s Secret Recipe Club I was assigned Shirley from Enriching Your Kid, who is a clinical psychologist-slash-homemaker that chronicles her family recipes and cooking experiences through her blog. There were a few recipes I was thinking about making, especially Mint Chutney, Dal Lentils, and Chole Chana Masala. I had been itching to bake something so I zoomed in on pineapple jam. I was thinking about all the ways I could use the pineapple jam: pineapple cookies, swirled into banana bread, plain on toast, and pineapple cakes.

The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival was in the month of October so I already had Asian sweets on my mind. Pineapple cakes (sometimes called pineapple tarts) are all over Asia and each region has its own special format. The Taiwanese version is named s Fènglísū (鳳梨酥).

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I really enjoy eating pineapple cakes, but the store-bought kind tend to be dry and the filling lacking in flavor. making your own pineapple filling allows you to control the texture, spices, and sweetness. I switched out the cardamom in the recipe for ginger and cut down the sugar, cooking it down until it was nice and thick.

The dough for these tarts comes together quickly and is ridiculously easy. There are only 3 ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, flour, and egg yolk. I busted out my wooden mooncake molds that I picked up in Chicago’s Chinatown years ago and brushed them with an egg wash mixture before filling.

Eaten warm, the dough is thick, buttery with a nice tender crumb. The filling is the perfect consistency that doesn’t ooze out when you bite into it but is soft enough to mix with the dough in each bite.

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Piña Colada Cupcakes – Happy 21st Birthday Ariel!

My sister recently turned 21 years old and to surprise her, my mom collected her friends, family, and Girl Scout troop at a local restaurant. Of course, she tasked me with bringing dessert. Since my sister turned 21, I figured I’d incorporate some booze in the cupcakes, but not too much since many people were still under age.

These cupcakes are not too sweet and are extremely moist. The coconut in the frosting keeps it from getting too heavy and while the cupcakes were cooling, I brushed some extra booze on top. My sister’s nickname is “Bear”, so I made some bear-shaped chocolates to go on top too. I put some almond extract in to simulate the orgeat syrup that is often used in tiki-style drinks.

I made some extra to bring in to work the next day; they keep great overnight because of all the moisture from the fruit.