Almond Pineapple Tart

Almond Pineapple Tart

Today is the 22nd day of Ramadan and I bet you in Malaysia, all shopping centers are having sales, right? Well, in Kuwait none of the shops are on SALE… well, I guess the shop owners know that the Kuwaitis are rich and regardless of SALE or not, they will definitely gonna buy stuff for Eid… so, next time if you want to buy clothes or anything for Eid, buy them during the SUMMER sale which probably starts somewhere in June… and they are really cheap, it can go up to 75% off… real bargain!
As Eid is approaching, I guess everyone is busy … baking cookies,  cleaning house, going shopping, etc etc …. well, regardless of whatever things that we are busy doing, I hope everybody will remember to take  the full   advantage of the last 10 days of Ramadan. Though all parts of Ramadan are full of blessings and rewards, its last ten days hold a special status…. and the Laylatul-Qadr is found in these 10 nights.  It is the greatest night of the year like the Day of  ‘ Arafah ‘ is the greatest day of the year.

Great pastry

OK… back to the recipe for today…. Almond Pineapple Tart….I took the recipe  from Rima… thanks a lot Ma’am!  This tart is marvelous, the pastry is so soft and melt in your mouth…. definitely worth keeping. Here is the recipe!
Ingredients:
Dough:
  • 100g unsalted butter ( I used 180g unsalted butter)
  • 80g margarine ( I omitted this)
  • 30g powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 240g  flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla powder (added as per Rima’s suggestion)

Filling:

  • 500g grated pineapple
  • 1 stick cinnamon (omitted)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 175g sugar

Topping:

  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1/2 tbsp water
  • chopped almonds (omitted)

Method:

Dough:

Beat butter, margarine, powdered sugar, and egg yolks at medium speed until well blended (2 minutes). Add in sifted flour, salt and ground almonds.

Filling:

Grated ripe pineapple. In a skillet or non-aluminum saucepan, add grated pineapple and cinnamon.. cook over medium heat till juice dries. Do not forget to keep on stirring. Add salt and sugar. Cook and stir until thick and not sticky… chill. Once chilled, take a little of pineapple jam and shape it longish about 1cm in diameter, 5cm long.

Pineapple Tart:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Take half the dough… Roll between two sheets of baking paper until 2 mm thick. Cut a square about the size of 5×4 cm. Place 1 part pineapple jam on a piece of skin dough, roll. Place on a buttered baking sheet.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes.. remove from oven, spread egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with chopped almonds.Place pan back into the oven, bake for a further 10 minutes- (i remove from the oven after 20 minutes as it is already golden)
  3. Remove and cool on wire rack.
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Red Velvet Cupcake

Red Velvet Cupcakes

For most of us Malaysian, Ramadan is the month that we strive to improve our relationship with the Quran.  We try our best to fit reading Quran into our busy Ramadan time and hopefully we can maintain this relationship after Ramadan insyaallah. Did you know that reading Quran is something that people here in Kuwait do almost everyday all year round. You can see them reading Quran while waiting for the traffic lights to turn green or while waiting for their spouses go shopping…. even the security guard reads Quran at his post. I’m really fascinated by this culture… even though they are not fond of reading books but reading Quran is something that they do all the time.

If you see them read, it is as if they are reading a story book. Well, I guess it is like reading a story book since they understand everything in it… how I envy them. Last night, while waiting for the Taraweeh prayer, a Kuwaiti lady that sat next to me read the holy Quran and I could not help but to notice the way she flipped the pages of the Quran and the expression on her face … it is as if she was reading a very interesting story… it was amazing!

My Red Velvet cupcake

OK… back to today’s recipe; Red Velvet cupcakes. I have been eying for this cake for quite sometimes already and only few days back that I had the courage to bake it. This cupcake is moist, fluffy, a tiny bit chocolaty, and my little boy loves it… he finished 3 cupcakes in one go.

Red Velvet cake has either a dark red colour, bright red or red-brown colour. It is usually prepared as a layer cake with either vanilla or chocolate flavour and top with creamy white icing or cream cheese frosting. All red velvet cakes have specific ingredients in common: white vinegar, buttermilk, beetroot or red food colouring and baking soda; the reaction of the vinegar to the buttermilk is said to better reveal the red in the cocoa powder.

Care to see the ingredient?

Ingredient:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp red food colouring ( I ran out of red colouring, so I used 2 tbsp red colouring + 1 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp distilled white vinegar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 175C. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners.
  2. On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food colouring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
  5. Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Ramadan in Kuwait

Alhamdulillah, we’re about 30% thru Ramadan and I think it is not too late for me to wish Ramadan Kareem to all Muslim anywhere in there world and may this Ramadan will be better than the previous year.

This year is our 4th Ramadan in Kuwait and to tell you the truth, we love fasting in Kuwait. Weird? Well, people might say we are weird but we love fasting here purely because we feel that we can embrace Ramadan better here… no rushing home from office through traffic jam and no breaking fast in the car most of the week days. Having said that, we do miss all the good selection of food and kuih at Pasar Ramadan he he he and not to mention breaking fast with parents and siblings….

In Kuwait, it is against the law to eat and drink in public. When I say against the law, I mean if you are drinking water on the street or even eating in your car and someone spots you and reports you, you may find yourself facing a 100KD fine and a 30-day jail term. Restaurants and coffee shops will be closed until dusk, they normally open about 1/2 hour before the iftar or 1/2 hour after the iftar… making the Malaysian tradition of “Buka Puasa Buffet” almost impossible.

During Ramadan, working hours are cut short in an effort to aid Muslims in their fasting and they do not have the rules that say if you are a non Muslim, you have to work normal hours., everybody get to come to work late and go back early. My other half works in a bank and his working hours for Ramadan is from 9:30 to 14:30 ( normal hours is from 7:30 to 15:30).

Mosques are jam packed with worshipers. Mostly all the favourite mosque will put up tents to accommodating more people.  The authorities also make sure that the parking are available, normally it is a bit far from the mosque but they provide a shuttle bus to pick you up from your parking to the mosque.

Grand Mosque (Masjid Al Kabeer)

This is how the tent looks like

The Taraweeh prayers normally will be lead by the Kuwaiti great reciter; Sheikh Mishary Rashid Al Afasy and during the last 10 days of Ramadan, the mosque holds Qiyaam al-Layl  (night prayers). Last year the Qiyaam (11 raka’at prayers) started at 12 midnight and finished at 2:30am. We were fortunate to be able to experience the Qiyam last year and this year we are looking forward to it…. This is the experience that you can’t get in Malaysia and the closest thing to performing prayers in MasjidilHaram…Masyaallah!