Semita de piña

Semita de piña

Pineapple jam recipe

You see them in shops, at the markets and even in ramshackle shacks by the dusty roadside. They’re cheap, incredibly fresh and, without a doubt, grown locally.

The piña, or pineapple, makes it into one of El Salvador’s most well known pastries.

Semita de piña.

Semita de piña recipe

Some come filled with guava, some even with fig, but I reckon the one filled with pineapple jam is the most popular. Along with guava, it’s the one I saw most in our travels through El Salvador.

Basically what we have is a bready ‘tart’, of sorts. A soft, golden sandwich of crumbly pastry that oozes with thick, sweet jam when you bite into it.

Semita de piña recipe

Some may side-step the fresh pineapple and opt for a store-bought jam in a jar. Admittedly, I did search for a good quality pineapple jam prior to making this recipe, but it seemed the odds were stacked against me. I was feeling lazy and came up empty handed. How can a city like Sydney not have pineapple jam?

What do you do when you need it and can’t find it in the shops?

That’s right. You make it.

Semita de piña recipe

The great thing about pineapple jam is how easy it is to construct. There are probably countless recipes for it online, but the one I came up with was while watching a YouTube narrated in South American Spanish.

One pineapple makes more jam than is needed for this semita, which is perfectly ok, because it keeps in the fridge and will have you sorted for breakfast toast for a while.

As for the slab of semita de piña, this one lasted two days in our household. It may be a little fiddly to make, but the outcome is worth the efforts.

Recipe adapted from here

Semita de piña recipe

Pineapple jam recipe

 

Print Recipe
Semita de piña
A soft, golden cake filled with pineapple jam spiked with cloves
Semita de piña recipe
Course Dessert
Cuisine Salvadoran
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Pineapple jam
Pastry
Course Dessert
Cuisine Salvadoran
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Pineapple jam
Pastry
Semita de piña recipe
Instructions
Pineapple jam
  1. Remove the skin and core from the pineapple. Discard the trimmings and purée the flesh. Transfer the flesh to a saucepan, add the sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Heat the saucepan over medium heat, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook the pineapple for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until it's thick like apple sauce.
  2. Remove the cinnamon and cloves and discard them.
  3. Dissolve the cornflour in the water and mix it well through the cooked pineapple. Turn off the heat and set it aside until cooled completely before storing in a sealed container in the fridge.
Pastry
  1. Combine the warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir well and set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, dissolve the remaining ¼ cup of sugar into the warm milk. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt and whisk it to aerate. Make a well in the centre then pour in the yeast mixture, milk mixture and 3 beaten eggs. Stir until the ingredients come together, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, then knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Wipe out the large mixing bowl, lightly grease it with oil, then put the dough into it. Cover with plastic and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size. It could take up to two hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a flat or shallow tray with baking paper and set aside.
  6. Take the risen dough, punch it down and cut it in half. Roll one of the halves into a rectangle about 7 mm thick. Transfer the rolled pastry onto the lined baking tray. Trim the sides so that they're straight, reserving the trimmings.
  7. Spread the pineapple jam evenly over the rolled pastry, leaving about 2 centimetres of space on the edges. The jam needs to be about 5 mm thick.
  8. Lightly brush a little of the remaining beaten egg on the edges of pastry.
  9. Roll the other half of the dough to the same size as the first, carefully lay it over the first half of pastry and jam, then trim the sides to match the first layer of pastry. Add the trimmings to the reserved ones.
  10. Using a fork, press down the edges to seal.
  11. To make the cross pattern - Knead the remaining offcuts of pastry together, then roll to the same length as your baking tray. Cut the pastry into 5 mm strips. Brush the top of the prepared semita with the beaten egg, then carefully lay the strips of pastry diagonally over the top, pressing them down gently and trimming to size as needed.
  12. Lay more strips on top, this time to cross over in the other direction to form a diagonal lattice. Press these down gently, then lightly brush the strips with beaten egg. Scatter over remaining sugar and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden.
  13. Cool completely in the tray before cutting into portions. Store the semita in a sealed container. If storing for more than a couple of days, do so in the fridge.
Recipe Notes

This recipe for Pineapple Jam makes 2 cups (500 ml) - it will keep in the fridge for at least 5 weeks.

The tray I used to make the cake is 30 x 20 cm. This recipe has enough dough to make a larger one that can measure up to about 40 cm x 30 cm.

Share this Recipe
  • Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    I feel your pain about finding pineapple jam in Sydney, I am yet to find it. I have ended up making my own, but I love how you have used brown sugar. I am going to have to try that. Plus I should add the Semita looks divine!

  • This is just the kind of fiddling I like to do on a weekend. Fresh pineapple jam sounds unbelievable – for the semita and for breakfast… and maybe a condiment for cheese. Thanks, John!

    • I did actually try some of the jam with a chunk of sharp Reggiano cheese and some gorgonzola. It works!

      • I bought the pineapple to make this over the weekend but never got around to it – had to work a lot! Hope to do it one evening this week…

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