28 January 2011

Ong Lai Tart

Every year just before Chinese New Year something special happens at...

It has become a tradition over at the Koh household that just before Chinese New Year the entire Koh family will turn into a lean, mean production line machine to produce delicious pineapple starts. Each family member has a specific role to play in the production line so before we start things off, let me introduce you to the chefs of the day.

The Master Chef of the day is Amy's mum of course. She is in charged of molding the pastry into the cute shapes and also in charged of overseeing the baking process.

The pastry chef of the day is none other then Amy of course. Her main job is to create the pastry from scratch, since the pastry is mainly made from butter you must have cold hands so as not to melt the butter.

There is also the Sous Chef, Amy's brother which so happens to have the same name as me. He is in charge of the pineapple jam. He has to roll the jam into little balls to fit right into the pastry.

There is Amy's father Mr Koh which is the overall manager of the kitchen. Uh forgot to get a picture of him. Whooppsss!!!! This year there are 2 extra helpers, well actually 1 extra and the other is just an good for nothing guy with a camera. This year we were joined by Eileen which is Jason Koh's girlfriend. She came much later after church.

So now with all the chef's introduced let me introduce to your the ingredients that makes a Koh family pineapple tart. The first and most important thing is of course...

You shouldn't start any cooking or baking process without a good recipe. I asked Amy is there if there is any secret ingredient in there I should blank out, she said no and so here it is the recipe. I did some artistic bokeh on it so uh the bottom part not so easy to see. Anyone wants the full recipe can ask Amy. The pineapple jam was made much earlier by our Master Chef.

Now that takes care of the topping and for the pastry, it consist of butter, flour and eggs yoke. There is no ajinomoto, no pepper and no salt. Well got some salt lar depends on the people handling the pastry has sweaty hands or not.

Last but not least of course is the little plastic jars to hold these delicious tarts once they are made. Here they are getting a nice sun tanning.

The first step in the process is to separate the egg yokes from the egg whites.

This time around Master Chef bought the best looking eggs ever. Can you believe that the bowl of egg yokes above came only from 2 eggs? Yup Amy's mum bought 10 eggs and 9 out of 10 of the eggs had double egg yokes in them. Next the yokes have to be beated and left to stand for a while.

The next step in the process of making the pastry is to sift the flour to ensure there are no lumps when the pastry is made.

Master Chef tells me that only Cap Sauh Tepung Gandum is the best to make the pineapple tarts. Each bag of Tepung Gandum equals to 1 recipe of pastry. Once the flour and the eggs are done, it is time to start actually making the pastry. The flour and the butter is combined together slowly. This has to be done by hand as the Koh family tried one time to use a machine and it wasn't the same. I think it is because of the "salt" or should I say lack there of it when a machine is involved.

The pastry chef will slowly add butter and flour and combine them until 2 block of butter and 1 packet of flours is used, the eggs are added slowly after the butter and flour and finally right at the end cold water is added to the mix to "lubricate" the pastry abit. This step is important as cold water is needed and also just the right amount of water is used. There is no measuring it in a cup, it goes by feel. Too much water and the pastry will stick during the rolling and cutting process and too little the pastry will crumble too easily.

Once everything has been evenly combined, the pastry is rolled into smaller balls and numbered.

The balls of dough are placed under a damp cloth to keep them moist before the next process begins. This is where the pastry will be rolled into and shaped.

Once the pastry has been rolled flat, a cutter is used to cut out the shapes. The cutter is quite cool as it has a metal casing to do the cutting and also a wooden middle to make a hole in the middle of the cut out pastry to place the jam.

The little pastries will be placed in the baking tray that has been lined with butter. They are placed in an even row to ensure they are baked all exactly as the same time

To make the pastry standout, it needs to have a nice golden color after the baking process. The way to do that is well to use an egg wash to cover the top of the pastry.

While the pastry is being made and cut into little sun flower shapes, the Sous Chef is busy preparing the pineapple jam to be put into the pastry. The sweet and sour pineapple jam complements very nicely with the salty and buttery pastry.

The pineapple jam has to be rolled into equal size balls ready to be placed in the pastry. Once the pastry has been cut down to size and painted with the egg wash, the pineapple jam is placed into the middle.

By this time, we are almost reaching to the end of the process. The body (pineapple jam) has been covered up with a skirt (pastry) and all it needs to complete it is to top the body off with a head. Little diamond shape extra pastry is cut and placed on top of the jam and also has a bath of egg wash.

Now once the entire pineapple tart is completed, it is placed into the oven to get a little sun tanning. It has to sun tan for about 30-45 minutes or till the pastry is golden brown.

Once they have their sun tanning treatment they come out nice golden brown, the pastry will be nice and crumbly and melts in your mouth and the pineapple jam would melt into the pastry and combine with the pastry to make a very nice combination of sweet, sour,  salty and buttery cookie.

This is where my job comes in, after all the hard work is done, I will put the pineapple tarts into my mouth and taste it and give my seal of approval. For more sensory overload, there are some extra pictures I took just for the heck of it.

I had fun at the pineapple tart making process and the best reward is that I get one whole jar without doing much work other then take pictures and telling the story. The process started at exactly 10.10am and completed at 7pm and a total of 2 and a half recipes of pastry was made and close to 300 pineapple tarts is ready to be eaten.


  1. yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...................mmmmmmmmmmmmm

  2. Oh yea Aaron it was good. Guess you not coming back for CNY?

  3. V, ask Amy for taster this weekend. Haha

  4. Wow i am salivating looking at the pics.. haven't tasted any pineapple tarts YET!

  5. wah...looks super yummy!!