Learn step-by-step how to make homemade Pineapple Jam for Pineapple Tart from scratch with just 4 ingredients only!
Every year, making Pineapple Jam is something of a ritual in the weeks leading up to the major holidays in Indonesia, such as Chinese New Year, Lebaran (Eid al-Fitr), and Christmas. That is because Pineapple Jam is the delicious filling that goes into the making of pineapple tarts or nastar.
The Pineapple Jam is a slow reduction of grated fresh pineapples that are caramelized with a mix of sugar and spices. The cooked jam tastes rich, fragrant, and is gorgeously caramelized to a glossy, deep amber hue.
It is very easy to make your own pineapple jam from scratch, but it can take hours to reduce the pineapples and let the jam cools down. Therefore, make sure to make the Pineapple Jam at least a day ahead before making the pineapple tarts.
Ingredients You Need
- Fresh pineapples. Grate the pineapples for a fibrous texture or blend the pineapples with a blender for a more smooth texture.
- Granulated sugar. To sweeten and caramelized the jam.
- Salt. To enhance the sweetness.
- Spices. Cinnamon, cloves, and star anise are commonly used to infuse warmth and flavor. In this recipe, only cloves are used but you can add cinnamon and star anise if preferred.
Tips For Choosing The Pineapples
When choosing fresh pineapples to make Pineapple Jam, you will want to get pineapples that are just beginning to ripen, fibrous, sweet, and still firm. Fibrous pineapples give you more jam because of the fiber. If your pineapples are juicy, you will end up spending more time reducing the liquid if they are made into jam.
Avoid overly ripe ones because they will be too mushy and have a very high water content. Meanwhile, unripe ones will be too sour or too bland. A mix of ripe and slightly underripe pineapples is ideal to make a sweet Pineapple Jam with a slight tanginess. But if you prefer sweet Pineapple Jam without the tanginess, use ripe ones only.
More importantly, it is better to get your fresh pineapples peeled and eyes removed from where you buy them. It can be tough to peel them by yourself.
How Much Sugar Do You Need to Make Pineapple Jam?
The amount of sugar added to the Pineapple Jam depends on how sweet and tart your pineapples are. If your pineapples are ripe and sweet, you do not need to put much sugar into the jam. However, if your pineapples are underripe and sour, you will need more sugar to balance the tanginess. You will need to do a taste test during the cooking to adjust the sweetness of your Pineapple Jam.
How to Make Pineapple Jam For Pineapple Tarts
- Peel and remove the eyes of fresh pineapples. Slice vertically into four pieces.
- Grate the pineapple pieces by hand or food processor. If your food processor does not have a blade attachment to grate pineapples and you are too lazy to grate pineapples by hand, you can also blend the pineapples with a blender.
- Pour the grated pineapples into a non-stick pan. Add cloves. Cook on high heat until the juice is fully evaporated while stirring occasionally.
- After the juice is reduced, add granulated sugar and salt. Keep stirring until the jam is thick and caramelized. Taste the jam and add more sugar as desired.
- Cook until the jam is very thick and dry. You should also start to see lots of pineapple fibers sticking out.
- When done cooking, let the jam cool completely at room temperature. Remove the cloves and transfer the jam into a ziplock bag or airtight container. Chill or freeze the jam.
How Do You Know When The Pineapple Jam Is ready?
If you prefer to have it as a jam spread, you can cook and reduce the grated pineapples to a spreadable consistency. However, if you are going to use this recipe as a filling to make pineapple tarts, the jam needs to be cooked until fairly dry into a thick paste. If you undercook the jam, it will be difficult to form them into balls for the pineapple tart filling. The wet jam makes the pineapple tarts soggy and crack.
A perfect Pineapple Jam should be dry but moist and sticky, thick in consistency, and golden brown in color. The golden hue comes from the added sugar that turns caramelized during the cooking process.
To check if it is ready, take a small amount of Pineapple Jam with a spoon, cool it down slightly, and try rolling it into a ball with your hands. If it holds its shape and does not feel too wet on your hands, turn off the heat and let it cool completely. Chill the cooled Pineapple Jam in the fridge overnight before using it to firm it up.
- Grate pineapples instead of blending them. Grate the pineapples for a fibrous texture. If you blend the pineapples with a blender, the jam texture will be smooth.
- Use a wide surface non-stick pan. Use a non-stick pan so that the jam does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, a wide surface pan helps evaporate the pineapple juice faster.
- Stir constantly after adding the sugar. After the sugar is added, you will need to keep stirring the jam or the bottom will get burnt if left too long.
- Cook long enough. Cook the jam until it is thick, sticky, and caramelized. If you undercook the jam, it will not hold its shape when rolled into balls.
- Chill the cooled jam. To firm it up. The jam will hold its shape better when cold.
How to Store
When stored at room temperature, the Pineapple Jam will last for up to 5 days. The jam will also keep well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, you can also freeze it up for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using it.