I’ve decided to start simply – by adapting tried and tested recipes to fit these new requirements. This will be the first of a few ‘healthy’ CNY cookies that you too can choose to make if your family suffers from the same afflictions as mine.
Now, the use of refined sugar in making the pineapple paste is definitely bad for a diabetic, but I wasn’t too daring to make the paste with sugar substitutes (and also because it would be expensive to do so). So instead, I I decided to substitute pineapple paste with a fruit already rich in fruit sugars – apples. Apple paste, or apple jam or more properly called applesauce is definitely way easier to make than pineapple paste. My applesauce contains no additives and no extra sugar. Any sweetness is derived from the natural sweetness of the apple you use. As such, I highly recommend the use of Royal Gala or Fuji Apples which are ripe and sweet, as well as one Granny Smith, to mimic the tartness of the pineapple.
For the crust, to make it diabetic friendly, you can opt for a sugar-substitute such as Equal or Stevia or xylitol, and mix it with some whole grain flours instead of the refined white flours that we usually use. Why whole grain flours? Well, highly refined products like enriched white flours are not good for diabetics because first, it lacks natural nutrients and it gets translated into the blood sugar very rapidly, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. This is not good because diabetics do not have enough insulin to regulate their blood sugar. So whole grains, are definitely a good choice to go with that sugar-free option when you wish to indulge but don’t want to run the risk of elevating your blood sugar level overly.
125g all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
½ egg (about 25-30g)
- Sift the flour and icing sugar separately.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter until it softens.
- Then, add the following: icing sugar, ground almonds, salt, vanilla seeds and beaten egg. Lastly, add in the flour. Use your mixer on the lowest speed until the pastry comes together in a ball. As soon as it does, stop and flatten it into a disc. You can also choose to use a food processor. Clingwrap it and chill for at least 3 hours before use.
Make the crust first, and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1-3 hours before using. In the meantime, prepare the apple jam. Basically, use any applesauce recipe and be sure to cook down the applesauce until it is relatively drier than usual.
After it cools, remove the crust from the refrigerator and proceed to roll it out, to about 3-5mm thick, depending on how thick you like your tart.
Portion the jam onto the tarts before decorating with more dough (optional). You can place the tarts relatively close to one another on the cookie tray because they do not spread/expand that much. Before baking, you can choose to use a egg yolk glaze on the tarts. I did not do this as I was lazy.
Bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for about 20-25 minutes or until the tart is slightly golden brown. Note that if you don’t use an egg yolk glaze, your tarts will look like mine below – slightly on the pale side.
- Taste: If you like, you can also add some cinnamon to the applesauce, to bring out the apple flavour more.
- Texture: I would definitely cook down the applesauce a little more since I used my normal method and it was still quite liquid. I thought the applesauce would dry out in the oven when baked with the crust, but it did not and was rather wet still. This meant that the tarts had to be consumed on the day itself, otherwise the tarts turned a tad too soggy.
- Serving size: The recipe is a quartered version of the original, and will definitely make about 1-2 trays worth of tarts, but the exact number is hard to determine because your tarts may be of different sizes.
- Modifications: If you want a more healthy option, you can definitely up the almond flour, and substitute the all-purpose flour with a bit of rice or millet flour. This also means you can mix/process the dough longer since there’s no gluten in these flours. Millet also adds a wonderful sweet taste (and browness) to the tarts as well.
- Storage: My tarts only kept well for 3 days, because it started getting soft on the third day and that’s not the texture you want for a pseudo-pineapple tart.
- Would I make this again?: I would definitely want to try this again, but making the enclosed version this time because I think the moist apple jam is more suited for a crumbly, melt in your mouth enclosed tart :]