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In my mind, Chinese desserts relate mostly to ground rice or jelly based confections, which project a rather healthy image in their overall composition and presentation, and therefore not exactly what the sweet tooth in me would find terribly appealing. To celebrate the year of the rooster, I wanted a proper dessert, one with enough calories and sugar to qualify as a ‘sweet treat’ and yet stay true to its roots as part of traditional Chinese cuisine. And when I stumbled upon these beauties on KirbieCravings, I immediately knew that this would be on my dessert table for CNY this year.

Chinese pineapple cakes are more of shortbread cookies filled with homemade jam and baked to golden perfection. While they are believed to have originated in Taiwan, these crumbly cookies have become immensely popular across South East Asia, being packaged and sold as square shaped, bite-size biscuits. As I was quite adamant about baking them in my pretty flower patterned molds, my cakes did turn up with a few cracks but somehow that was enough to distract me from the buttery, melt-in-the-mouth sensation as I bit into my first pineapple cake.

CHINESE PINEAPPLE CAKES

Ingredients:

For the Pineapple Filling

2 cans crushed pineapples, drained

1 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup + 1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the Pineapple Pastry

250 grams cake flour

60 grams icing sugar, sifted

1/4 cup fat free milk powder

1/4 cup custard powder

180 grams cold unsalted butter

2 egg yolks, room temperature

Method:

  • In a medium, nonstick saucepan, add the drained crushed pineapples. Bring to a simmer on the stove.
  • Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes, until most of the excess liquid evaporates and mixture thickens.

  • Stir in the sugar, corn syrup and honey. Cook for about 40 minutes till it is thick with very little liquid.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Pour filling into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap.

  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. To make pastry, add all ingredients except egg yolks into food processor.
  • Mix for about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks in and pulse for about 1 minute, until smooth dough forms.

  • Scoop out 1.5 tablespoons dough balls and shape between palms to form round balls and set these aside.
  • Take the pineapple filling from fridge and scoop out into 1 tablespoon filling and shape them into balls.

  • Make enough filling balls to match the dough balls. Lightly grease inside of the square molds with oil.
  • Take a sheet of plastic wrap and stretch it over a flat surface, keeping the plastic as smooth as possible.

  • Take one of dough balls and place it on top of the plastic wrap. Press it down until it spreads out thinly.
  • It should be shaped into a thin round of dough to be just big enough so that it will wrap over the filling.

  • Place filling ball in the middle of the round. Lift one side of plastic wrap, peel the round from that side.
  • You should be able to easily peel plastic off and bottom side of the round should be completely smooth.

  • Lift round completely from plastic wrap and cover pineapple filling with dough sealing the edge on top.
  • Try to smooth it as much as possible. Place dough ball inside square with the bunch up ends facing up.

  • Carefully push and spread dough until it spreads out across the square mold and fits inside completely.
  • Place mold, with smooth side facing up, on a baking sheet lined with silicone mat or parchment paper.

  • Preheat oven to 350 oF. While your oven is heating up, finish making the rest of your pineapple cakes.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes until top turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes.

  • After about 15 minutes, gently push cakes out molds. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature.
  • Store any uneaten pineapple cakes in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week. Makes 12.

Make these visually stunning verrines to welcome summer by assembling digestive biscuit crumbs, tangy cheese cream filling and slices of fresh or canned pineapple together. This fruity dessert, from My Baking Addiction, is ridiculously easy and wastes no time in the oven waiting for the surface layer to set, unlike its baked counterpart [see my Strawberry Cheesecake recipe here]. With no uncooked eggs to worry about, this no-bake version simply has to be popped in the refrigerator till you are ready to serve dessert at any summer-themed party you are planning to host this year.

NO-BAKE PINEAPPLE CHEESECAKE

Ingredients:

For the Cheesecake Base

1 cup digestive biscuit crumbs

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

For The Pineapple Filling

225g cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

225g pineapple chunks, drained

Extra pineapple slices, to garnish

Maraschino cherries, to garnish

Method:

  • Combine together the digestive biscuit crumbs with the melted butter and sugar. Set aside.

  • In a larger bowl, beat cream cheese, cream and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed.

  • Beat until it is smooth and creamy, then fold in yogurt, pineapple, and vanilla and mix well.

  • Divide crust mixture among individual serving glasses, pressing into the base of each glass.

  • Repeat with the cream cheese mixture. Cover it and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes to chill.

  • Garnish with extra pineapple with a maraschino cherry in the centre of each pineapple ring.

Pineapple Cheesecake

EGGLESS PINEAPPLE CAKE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsweetened yogurt

1/2 cup pureed soft/silken tofu

3/4 cup full cream milk

1 teaspoon pineapple extract

2 1/2 cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/2 cup canned pineapple, diced

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

1 and 1/4 cups white sugar

For the Pineapple Cream Filling

2 cups whipping cream, whipped

1 teaspoon pineapple extract

2 cups canned pineapple, diced

1/4 cup pineapple juice [from can]

1 cup toasted coconut flakes

1/2 cup glace red cherries

Method:

  • Preheat the oven at 350F/180C for 15 minutes. Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper.
  • Mix together yogurt, tofu, milk and pineapple extract in a medium bowl and set them aside.

  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl.
  • Add yogurt mixture in 3 portions beating after each addition. The mixture will look curdled.

  • Add flour and fold in with a spoon, then fold in the pineapple chunks. Spread batter into pan.
  • Bake for 21-23 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

  • Transfer pan to a cooling rack and turn out cake after 15 minutes. Leave it to cool completely.
  • For whipped cream frosting, keep bowl and beaters in the fridge for at least 15 to 30 minutes.

  • Place the whipping cream and pineapple extract in the bowl and whip until stiff peak forms.
  • Before assembling and frosting the cake, brush generously with the reserved pineapple juice.

  • Leave cake to soak syrup for at least 15 minutes. Place cake on a serving platter or cake stand.
  • Spread cake with the whipped frosting. Garnish with coconut, pineapple chunks and cherries.

Recipe from Eggless Cooking

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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