Remembering (and redefining) “Cold Storage Butter”

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” Cold Storage butter on kaya toast was such a treat!” – My mother on her fond memories of butter blocks, notably that of SCS’.

Often referred to as the “Cold Storage butter” by the older generation, the luxurious and creamy taste of SCS butter is one that has stayed somewhere with us in the back of my minds, seemingly blocked out over the years by the emergence of newer, and fancier butters in supermarkets these days.

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I’m not sure about you, but as an avid home baker myself, I’m always running tests on the most basic of ingredients in recipes to find out how a different say, flour or butter, can impact the final product.  Strangely enough, I’d never included SCS in my ‘butter experiment’ list. Perhaps it’s because I had always seen it as belonging strictly to Kaya toast, thanks to mum.

I was thus intrigued (and secretly very excited) when I had the chance to test out, and reacquaint myself with the simple (but very shiok!) goodness of SCS’ butter in a pineapple tarts baking class!

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It was a gloomy and drizzly day when we made our way over to Chantilly Culinary Studio (located just a short walk from Kovan MRT), but once we were inside the studio, the scent of buttery pastries welcomed us warmly.

After a bit of chatting, our instructor for the day, Cecilia, started us on our  pineapple tarts journey.

Despite not being a native Singaporean, Cecilia pretty much had the whole pineapple tarts baking process nailed down! From the stewing of the  pineapple, to the formation of the perfect dough (hint: use an electric whisk instead  of your fingers when incorporating the butter – you’ll end up with crisper cookies), every part of the lesson was well-thought out and well-executed, leaving us excited students ample time to experience and experiment on our own.

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Our workspace for the day!

 

Experimenting was, in fact, the key point of the class – all of us were encouraged to come up with the most unique and creative flavours for our pineapple tarts, be they adding a handful of heart-healthy chia seeds, or the bizarre addition of chilli flakes, the combinations were simply endless!

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Cecilia with her pandan-lime pineapple paste – wonder how that tasted

 

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Use electric whisk before using fingers to incorporate any remaining bits of chunky butter

Use electric whisk before using fingers to incorporate any remaining bits of chunky butter

Thus when it was finally our turn to get in on the action, we were absolutely brimming with ideas for our own tarts! IMG_5687IMG_5692

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When your pineapple paste is ready, it should be firm and have a mould-able consistency. If it sticks on a spoon, you’re good!

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I can’t add everything here to my pineapple tarts, right? In a dilemma over what to spice up our pineapple tarts with

After much deliberation (thankfully, my partner’s pragmatism saved our cookies) we narrowed down our batter to a matcha-coconut and hazelnut-coconut one. While waiting for our flavoured doughs to rest, Cecilia took the time to give us some ideas of the different ways that we could shape our tarts.

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Feeling a little more than inspired, we then set out to make our own …

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… Which didn’t turn out very pretty. Rather disturbing, in fact, if I may say so myself.

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Hotdog or eclair? It’s all a matter of perspective

Avoiding any confrontation or conversations with our other fellow bakers (their perfectly uniform and carefully piped tarts made ours look a little more than awkward), we hastily popped ours into the oven, hungrily and eagerly awaited our tarts.

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15 minutes later and they were out! They still didn’t look very appetising, but the moment we popped one into our mouths, we simply couldn’t stop. The green ones were matcha-coconut flavoured, and boy was I glad that the combination actually worked out, with the slight bitterness of the matcha contrasting nicely against the buttery flavour of the coconut flakes. Since the butter for these was combined using an electric whisk instead of fingers, the cookies had a slight crunch, which was pleasing when combined with the slight gooey-ness of the pineapple paste.

On the other hand, the hotdog ones (ok fine, eclair) had a very wholesome taste to it, what with the fragrance of the crushed hazelnuts adding on to the creaminess of the coconut flakes. Furthermore, as they had the butter combined using fingers instead of a whisk, the cookies ended up being the melt-in-your-mouth kind, so you can only imagine how luxurious the entire cookie was!

We also stewed our pineapple paste with a little bit of cinnamon and star anise, which lifted up the entire pineapple tart, giving it a nicely spiced edge.

 

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My verdict? The tarts went so much butter – sorry, better – than I expected! True, SCS may not be the finest, fanciest, or the most expensive butter brand out there, but what it does is to lend your baked goods a good ol’ creamy and well-rounded flavour, which for a traditional pastry like pineapple tarts, is a match made in heaven.

They say that ‘Old Is Gold’, and since they’ve been churning butter for the past 109 years, it’s no doubt that SCS is as gold as it gets!

Gnut Pineapple Tarts (recipe adapted from your good ol’ “Cold Storage Butter” AKA SCS Butter)

Ingredients (makes 80 tarts)

For Pineapple Jam

  • 2 Fresh Pineapples (about 1kg each)
  • 100g Castor Sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise

Directions:

  1. Peel, chop, and blend the pineapple. Add a little water into the blender if required.
  2. Place in a large, heavy-based pot, and bring to boil on a low heat. Stir occasionally to ensure that it is not burning on the bottom. Cook for about 3 hours until the liquid has reduced by half.
  3. Add the sugar and continue to cook until the jam thickens.
  4. Add in cinnamon and star anise and cook until very thick (looks firm enough for you to shape). Let it cool down before using.

For the Crust

  • 1 block chilled SCS Unsalted Butter (250g)
  • 400g plain flour
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks *
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup dessicated coconut

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven at 170C.
  2. Sift flour, salt, and matcha powder into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Cut the butter into small cubes and add into the mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream butter into flour until it has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Take care not to overwork mixture (will make mixture clumpy; you want it loose).
  4. Add the egg yolks and coconut,  and knead until dough is formed. Do not over-knead mixture or it will result in a tough dough.
  5. Wrap dough with clingwrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, place pineapple jam in piping bag/roll into balls.
  7. Dust table with flour. Flatten dough to thickness of half a cm with a rolling pin.
  8. Cut cookies with cookie cutter. Brush the pastry with eggwash if desired.
  9. Assemble the tarts – pipe/put pineapple jam balls onto the cookie dough, and place the tart on a buttered or lined baking tin. Repeat until all tarts are made.
  10. Bake at 170C for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

* Should you choose to add more wet ingredients (e.g. fresh strawberries) as a variation to your tarts, simply decrease the quantity of egg yolk. The total weight of your wet ingredients should be around 25g, so the total weight of egg yolks and extra wet ingredients should not exceed 25g.

 

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