Saturdays or Sundays marked my family’s routine visit to Liberty avenue in Queens, NY. This is where we did our weekly shopping for our vegetables, meat, and Guyanese bakery goods for the rest of the work/school week. My favorite stop was at Sybil’s bakery. My father would buy Guyanese plait bread and a host of other pastries including one of my favorites, pineapple tarts, commonly called, pine tart, (not to be confused with South East Asian pineapple tarts). Sometimes I’d even go inside with him to make sure he didn’t forget to buy me a cream soda to go with it.
I also remember that before we got home, at least one pine tart or cheese roll would have already been devoured from the bag, the crumbs as evidence in the backseat of the car. Yes, these are my childhood memories of Guyanese pine tarts.
Although Sybil’s pine tarts are ingrained in my memory and taste buds, there was another bakery that made a pine tart I would never forget, Hack’s bakery near Stabroek market in Georgetown, Guyana.
From the moment I laid eyes on it, I couldn’t wait to take the first bite. I remember it from beginning to end; tangy, sweet, tart and tasty, just how I imagined it to be. I had never been so in love with a pine tart as much as I was at Hack’s.
I assumed it had to be the fact that nothing compares to a baked good made with fresh everything, including the pineapple filling. The filling tasted so different from any other I’ve had before, it tasted like it was made with fresh pineapple and I had to find a way to taste it again. Now thousands of miles away from Hack’s bakery, I have made my own version, just as tasty and just as fresh, thank you Hack’s for the inspiration. I give you the jewel of my eye, the ever so glorious and outstanding, pine tart.
You’ll need a ripe, medium sized pineapple. If you are not sure if your pineapple is ripe as yet, read this. Peel and chop into large chunks, make sure you remove any seeds that are stuck in the pineapple. Pulse in food processor until small lumps remain.
A medium sized pineapple gave me 3 cups crushed pineapple. I only used 2 1/2 cups (20oz) and used the remaining 1/2 cup for a few pina coladas 😉 I drink while I cook, don’t you? Well if you don’t then you can place any left over crushed pineapple in a freezer bag and freeze for up to three months 🙂
Place in a medium sized sauce pan that you will use to simmer the pineapple.
Add all the spices and sugars…
Some may enjoy making their pineapple jam with just pineapple and sugar, I prefer to add some kick with all these spices. The dark and light brown sugar also really adds a nice molasses taste to the jam, this is my way, but you can flavor the filling however you like 🙂
You’ll need this utensil, it’s a pastry cutter or dough blender. It helps to cut the butter and shortening into the dough. I like it to use this when making any crust recipe. You can also put all the dough ingredients into a food processor instead of using a manual instrument like this one. If you don’t have a food processor, you may use a fork to work the fats into the flour. You’ve got lots of options here, no excuses when it comes to pine tarts 😉
Cut the fats into the dough until pea size lumps form, then add ice cold water a little at a time to bring it all together.
Give the dough a slight knead to bring it all together, you can work your hands in here a little unlike some other crust recipes where handling the dough less yields flakier results, with a pine tart crust, you want a slightly stiffer dough so don’t be afraid to knead a little. Form dough into a small log.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 4 hours before use.
Sorry, I just like this photo, so here it is again. Okay you may proceed.
Brush the edges with egg whites, really get some on there, we want these babies to be sealed up well and good before putting into the oven!
As you make each tart, place them on a baking sheet. I’ve lined my baking sheet with a non-stick silicone silpat mat. Silicone mats are awesome because they prevent burning and help with even baking 🙂 You can certainly use parchment paper here as well if you don’t have a silicone mat.
Brush each tart with egg wash then pierce with a knife or fork so any steam can be released while baking.
Options for Substitutes
There are times when we all need shortcuts due to time constraints. If you find yourself in a hurry but still want to enjoy home baked pine tarts you can use pre-made or boxed pie crust (add 1/2 cup flour to the mix) for the pine tart crust and a 20oz can of crushed pineapple for the filling or ready-made pineapple jam. I have used both boxed pie crust and canned pineapple and ended up with a really tasty pine tart.
Guyanese Pine Tarts