One of my favourite Chinese desserts are 凤梨酥 – rolls of buttery dough stuffed full of spiced pineapple jam.
Seeing as I had eaten all the ones I brought back from HK, it was time to learn how to make them myself.
A quick Google found numerous recipes. However, only one looked anything like the pineapple rolls I tasted thoroughly in HK.
Given how sweet pineapple is, I reduced the sugar content asked for in the original recipe. I also added a pinch of salt to enhance the pineapple flavour (if you don’t believe me, add a pinch of salt to your next Seven Up/Lilt. It’s a game changer!). One other change was that I refrigerated the dough before rolling – the high butter content (and my ridiculously warm hands) makes the dough very hard to work once warm!
Recipe (adapted from Indochinekitchen.com)
- 2 tins pineapple rings in fruit juice (250 g each)
- 400 g sugar
- 6 cloves
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 200 g butter (room temperature)
- 50 g icing sugar
- 40 g custard powder
- 280 g all purpose flour
- 20 g cornflour
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 tsp condensed milk
- Place the pineapple (and half the juice) with the sugar, salt, cloves and cinnamon stick in a saucepan
- Cook over a low heat for 3 to 4 hours, stirring continually. The jam is ready once it has thickened to a jam-like consistency
- Let the jam cool. Once cool, pour the jam into a piping bag, removing all the cloves and the cinnamon stick
- To make the dough, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3
- Place baking parchment over a baking tray
- Sift the flour, custard powder and corn flour into a bowl
- In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add an egg yolk and combine fully before adding the remaining yolk. Beat until the second egg yolk is fully incorporated
- Combine the flour mixture with the egg mixture and mix well. You will know the dough is ready as it will feel (of all things!) like Plasticine
- Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour
- Take the dough from the fridge and place between two sheets of baking parchment. Roll the dough as thin as you can get it. If the dough doesn’t feel pliable, place it back in the fridge and re-roll once cool to the touch
- Cut the dough into the shape of a very wide rectangle. You can use the cut-offs by re-rolling them
- Pipe the jam along the width of the dough using a thin nozzle, about 2cm above where the dough ends vertically. Fold the dough over the jam and cut off the remaining dough.
- Pinch the ends of the pineapple roll to seal
- Cut the pineapple roll into 1 1/2 inch long rolls
- Repeat the previous 4 steps until you run out of dough/jam
- Place the pineapple rolls on the prepared baking trays
- Combine the egg wash ingredients and brush over the rolls
- Bake the rolls until golden
- Once they have cooled, the rolls are ready to eat!
The recipe can be quite time consuming as you need to constantly mix and reduce the pineapple jam, but the result was sublime: crumbly, melt in the mouth pastry encasing an addictively complex pineapple jam, the flavour of which has been enhanced by the slow cooking and the addition of cloves
The last batch!