Rustic Pineapple Balls (Lunar New Year Recipe)

Healthy Pineapple Balls Recipe

Pineapple pastries, usually in the form of tarts, are a common sight in Singapore and Malaysia during Chinese New Year. Pineapples represent prosperity and good luck in some Chinese cultures. The name also sounds similar to “fortune, come” when said in Hokkien. In Singapore, after moving into a new house, Chinese folks often roll whole pineapples on the floor as it symbolises “rolling good luck” into the new house.

Crumbly, soft and a delightful blend of sweet and sour flavours. Not perfectly round and smooth but hey, it’s homemade!

I developed this recipe with a single purpose in mind – to be able to stuff myself without feeling sick! As I got older, my body doesn’t seem to like buttery, oily and sugary foods as much as before (the same reason I created my old tempeh bak kwa recipe). I wanted delicious pineapple tarts that won’t be heavy on my stomach, so I can have energy to make hundreds of dumplings (recipe in my book)! 

Secret ingredient 🙂

Instead of vegan butter, which is expensive and highly processed, I opted to use coconut oil instead. Before you exclaim “coconut taste!!”, I’m here to assure you that it’s not that unpleasant coconut aftertaste. The almost pungent coconut aftertaste usually appears when the food loses its freshness (thus storage for this is important, see notes), or when low quality coconut ingredients were used. Good quality coconut milk/oil gives a pleasant sweetness and fragrance that’s unique to this versatile tropical fruit. Furthermore, coconut pairs well with pineapple – it’s not exactly the same as traditional pineapple tarts, but delicious in its own way.

Peeling and coring pineapples is really a lot more work, but it tastes much fresher.

If you’re in the tropics, you have to refrigerate your coconut oil to get it solid enough. It should not be liquid-y but yet soft enough for you to scoop out of the jar. There are 2 types of coconut oil – unrefined (also known as cold pressed) and refined. Unrefined coconut oil is the one with the sweet coconut fragrance and rich flavour. It has a lower smoke point thus is more suitable for baking. Refined coconut oil has no coconut flavour at all, it’s more suitable for high heat cooking like frying as it has a higher smoke point. For this recipe, I have tried with both types. The balls made with refined oil turned out really bland. The ones made with unrefined coconut oil was delightfully buttery with a natural sweet fragrance. However, it develops a strong coconut aftertaste after 3 days at room temperature. Thus, this recipe produces a small amount as I recommend you to finish it within 3 days – shouldn’t be a problem!

Cooking pineapples and reducing them to jam takes at least 1 hour, so best to make it in advance.
The dough will come together once solid coconut oil pieces are mixed in.
The dough needs to be handled carefully due to the characteristics of coconut oil.

RUSTIC Pineapple Balls (eggless, dairy-free)

Makes about 20-24 bite-sized balls

For the pineapple jam (can be made 1 day in advance, makes 2 batches of balls)

  • 2 medium pineapples, peeled, eyes and cores removed and cut into chunks
  • A pinch of salt
  • 70g sugar, or to taste (depends on the sweetness of your pineapple)

Use a blender or food processor to puree the pineapple. In a pot, add blended pineapples and water. Bring to a gentle boil. Add sugar and salt, let simmer over low heat till it’s reduced to a paste. To prevent burning, mix it with a spatula every 5 mins or so. It might take 50-60mins to reduce, depending on the natural amount of moisture that your pineapple has. Once it reaches a jam-like consistency, remove from heat and transfer to a clean airtight jar. Place in the fridge to cool. It can be refrigerated for up to 5-7 days, depending on the temperature of your fridge.

For the pastry (can be made 1 day in advance)

  • 150g all-purpose/plain flour
  • 30g potato starch
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 25g sugar
  • A pinch of turmeric (optional, for colour only)
  • 100g coconut oil (soft solid)
  • 1 tbsp soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract (for best results, avoid vanilla flavouring)

 

For the egg-free wash (can be made 1 day in advance)

  • 2 tsp gula melaka/sugar
  • A pinch of turmeric, for colour
  • 1 tsp soy milk
  • 1 tbsp oil

Mix flour, starch, baking powder, turmeric, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Weigh out your coconut oil and cut it into small pieces. Add the coconut oil pieces, vanilla paste and soy milk into the flour mixture. Use your hand to gently squeeze and mix till the oil is mostly melted and incorporated into the flour. Mix and knead gently till you get a dough. Transfer onto a cling wrap and flatten the dough. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Remove it from fridge at least 20 mins before shaping as the dough will harden when chilled.

Preheat oven to 165C. Shape pineapple jam into balls of approximately 1 cm diameter, line them up on a clean surface. Shape a piece of dough into balls of approximately 2 cm diameter and flatten with your palms. Ensure the dough is as evenly thin as possible. Place a pineapple jam ball onto the edge of the flattened dough and roll both jam and dough gently downwards. Pinch the sides and any other openings to close. Finally, roll between your hands to ensure the ball is evenly round. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat these steps till you use up all the jam/dough.

For the egg-free wash, mix all ingredients in a bowl with a food-safe brush. Brush the top of each ball gently. Transfer to oven and bake at 165C for 20-22 mins, till the balls are darkened and slightly expanded. Remove from oven and let it cool on the tray for 1 min. Then, transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely, which might take up to 1 hour depending on your room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container to store.

Warning: addictive.

Notes:

  • Do not add too much turmeric or it’ll interfere with the flavours. Since we used coconut oil not butter, turmeric can help boost the yellow colour.
  • Since we are using coconut oil, dough may soften at room temperature. If dough is too wet or soft, refrigerate it for 5 mins to stiffen.
  • Best consumed within 3 days, if stored at room temperature. Can be refrigerated for up to 7 days.
  • This recipe doesn’t seem to work well with plastic tart moulds due to the dough being slightly unstable at room temperature. I prefer making balls as I don’t like having to many things to wash!
  • If you’re someone who dislikes coconut no matter what, replace coconut oil with 125g dairy-free butter and omit soy milk.

 

rustic gingerbread cookies

Christmas is around the corner, so I’m posting a Western recipe for a change! As a spice lover, I love anything gingerbread. Ginger isn’t the only spice used despite the name, cinnamon, nutmeg are usually also present as well. The traditional gingerbread also includes cloves, but I didn’t have any on hand so I use Chinese five spice and sometimes cardamom. I’ve been making it like this for 2 years, and it always turns out moist, slightly chewy, homely and comforting. So I’m sharing the recipe here.

As a (sometimes) lazy cook, I love simplifying and reducing the steps needed. This recipe is very basic. I didn’t want to top it off with icing or frosting as I find it’s too sweet and troublesome. Icing sugar is my least favourite baking ingredient – it has no nutritional value, a mess to work with and will attract ants if some gets on the floor! If you want to add icing, I’ve included the recipe below too. This year I also didn’t want to use cookie cutters as that means more steps and more utensils to wash.

The dough can be made in advance up to 2 days. Keep in the fridge and remove once you are ready to portion and bake. The dough also rolls well and can be cut with cookie cutters into various shapes before baking.


RUSTIC GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Makes around 20 pieces

  • 1/3 cup neutral flavoured plant oil (I use grapeseed)
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I use oat)
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves or cardamom or five spice powder
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla paste

In a large bowl, whisk oil with molasses and raw sugar till mixed together into wet crumb-like texture. Add non-dairy milk, vanilla and whisk till combined. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and all spices into the mixture. Add salt. Use a spatula and mix in one direction till just combined into a dough. Place dough into a sheet of cling wrap, spread it out, flatten and wrap. Chill in fridge for 1 hour to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 175C. Portion dough into 25g balls and place onto a pan lined with baking paper. Flatten slightly. Bake at 175C for 12-16mins, rotating halfway. Remove from oven, let it cool on baking paper for 1 min and transfer to cooling rack. Let it cool completely before serving or storing. Cookies can keep up to 4 days at room temperature.

FOR ROYAL ICING (Makes around 1 cup of icing)

  • 1 cup icing sugar, or more if needed
  • 4 tbsp aquafaba, or more if needed (it’s chickpea water, simply drain out a can of chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • Colourings or other flavours, optional

Whip aquafaba and vanilla in a metal bowl with an electric mixer till foamy. Add sugar and vanilla, mix till glossy with soft peaks. Add more liquid (if too dry) or sugar (if too runny) till desired consistency. Do not over mix. Transfer a small amount into piping bag and test on a piece of baking paper. If it sinks a few mins after drawing, it’s too runny so add few tbsp more sugar. Once you’re happy with the consistency, draw onto cooled cookies. Keep the iced cookies uncovered at room temperature to dry the icing before storing. It takes about 1 hour to half a day depending on room temperature, humidity and design of the icing.

Gingerbread men I made last year.

To make shapes with cookie cutters, simply roll out the dough onto a clean flour surface till about 0.5-0.7 cm thick. Cut with cutters, remove the extra dough in-between shapes and repeat the rolling and cutting till you use up all the dough. For these cookies, reduce the baking time by 5 – 8 mins to avoid them turning out too hard as they are much thinner.

Still prefer making these – much less hassle, just as tasty.

Announcement:

I’ve started conducting cooking and baking classes! I aim to keep my classes more affordable than regular classes so that it’s as accessible to more people. To keep costs low, I will try to get sponsors. If you’re a vegan business or one selling quality vegan products and will like to sponsor ingredients for my future classes, email me at morethanveggies@outlook.com.


In this session, I will share straightforward recipes using common ingredients to make rustic Christmas treats for your loved ones. I will explain basics like how to measure ingredients correctly, the roles of ingredients, how to change the recipes to suit your tastes – basically things that are hard to describe in writing and best shown.

You will work with quality ingredients for the toppings, kindly sponsored by local health grocers, Little Farms​. Email (morethanveggies@outlook.com) to book! Limited slots available as class is kept small for max benefit.

Testimonials from the previous class’ participants:

  • “Very simple and easily available ingredients, clear and easy to follow instructions, great mix of students, absolutely and sinfully delish brownies, muffins and cookies!!! I was SUPER IMPRESSED with my baking” – Hui
  • “Morethanveggies baking class was utterly wonderful! Chef patiently explained the procedures and showed us the tricks. With a wealth of up-to-date knowledge, she also advised us on where to get the best ingredients and what to do if we wish to experiment with different flavours.” – Erin

Pink Warrior Charity Bake Sale

261

 

After the success of my first bake sale, Meraki Yoga kindly invited me to be part of another one! This time is for their Warrior In Pink fundraising event where 10% of proceeds goes to the Singapore Breast Cancer Foundation. Greatly appreciate my aunt and mom who lent a helping hand during the baking of 300 over cookies!

270

THANK YOU all who came down and enjoyed the cookies! Very happy that most people who sampled loved one or more flavours and thus bought them. People are usually fascinated by how cookies can be rich, chewy and moist without eggs, dairy milks and butter. Baking is simply a play on protein, sugar and fats which plenty of plants can provide. You just need to find the right plant ingredient to use in the right ratio! Here are the ingredients:

Cranberry Lemonade:

Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, organic raw sugar, coconut milk, Madagascar vanilla paste, baking soda, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest, sea salt, dried cranberries.

123

 

 

Rose coconut caramel:

Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, dark muscovado sugar, rose water, Madagascar vanilla paste, baking soda, palm sugar, coconut milk, sea salt, rose petals.

137

 

Double chocolate chip:

Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, organic raw sugar, cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate chips, black coffee, Madagascar vanilla paste, baking soda, coconut milk, sea salt.

151

 

Had a great time meeting fellow yogis, new & long-time veg*n friends! Thanks to your strong support, I donated more than 10% to the foundation. Also greatly enjoyed yummy cake loaves from Kai’s Fresh Bakes and homemade rose drinks & nut mylks from The Sweeet Stuff . (Nut mylk photo credit to Cheryl)

268

274

If you missed this event and would like some cookies, email me to make a cookie order!

First Cookie Bake Sale!

218

It was a great pleasure to have my first ever cookie bake sale at Meraki Yoga with my yogi buddy Yvonne as part of their 2nd anniversary flea market. After weeks of editing and testing recipes, (during which the most failed batch melted into puddles in the oven) I finally found a good basic recipe to base different flavours on!

Flavour 1: Salted coconut caramel (aka salted gula melaka, aka most labour intensive cookie!!)

Ingredients: Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, coconut milk, coconut sugar, molasses, vanilla bean paste, baking soda, sea salt.

212

213

Flavour 2: Spiced Oatmeal Raisin

Ingredients: Wheat flour, organic raw sugar, brown sugar, grapeseed oil, organic oatmeal, organic raisins, organic soymilk, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, five-spice powder, vanilla bean paste, baking soda, sea salt.

200

 

Flavour 3: Citrus Sunflower

Ingredients: Wheat flour, organic raw sugar, grapeseed oil, organic sunflower seeds, organic soymilk, lemon juice, orange and lemon zest, vanilla bean paste, baking soda, sea salt.

192

 

If you would like tasty and healthy vegan cookies at your event, kindly email me.