Start with choosing a just ripe pineapple and do 2 at a go. Doing 1 is just now worth the effort and you can only make maybe 30 tarts.
Don’t remove the core because it will add to the fibrous texture. Don’t remove the juice either, it’s full of flavour, so just patiently boil to evaporate water.
Slightly moist jam are more suitable for open-faced tarts which are baked further in the oven. For closed tarts, fry it drier.
Recipe (makes around 460 to 500g jam but really depends on how big or juicy the pineapples are)
2 pineapple (around 1.3 kg when peeled and eyes removed. If the pineapples are bigger, increase sugar proportionately)
160g sugar (this is considered less sweet, can also mix with brown sugar if you like)
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 star anise
5 blades of pandan leaves
Peel pineapple and remove eyes. Chop into small pieces.
Puree with a blender till fine. Place all into a wide wok (no pots, you need the wide surface area to evaporate the water) and add in the cinnamon stick and star anise and pandan leaves.
On medium to high heat, boil the purée. It will not burnt easily, just keep an eye and stir occasionally.
When about 80% or liquid has boiled away (in about 20 – 30 min) and paste looks fibrous like the picture on the above right, add in the sugar. It will become liquidy again.
Now turn heat to low and keep closer watch over the paste as the sugar will caramelised and then burn. Spread out the paste as you stir to allow liquid to evaporate faster. Press down with the spatula.
Paste will be ready in another 40 min or so, after adding sugar. You can taste a little towards the end and add more sugar if necessary. Total time is about 1 hr and 10 min. Some signs when jam is ready are:
– it’s definitely drier, no liquids pooling at the bottom.
– texture is not so liquidy, more like plasticine, stirring is harder.
– fibrous strands start to stick out.
Scoop out paste and cool in a clean bowl, it will harden and darken further. Cool in fridge for a few hours before using for pineapple tarts.