John Caboto: Pine Tarts & Black History

When two daycare students walked into their Cooking Club activity one February day, they didn’t know a simple treat their grandmothers used to make for them could mean so much more than just a delicious combination of dough and pineapples!

While many students in schools and daycares put together presentations, art work and more to celebrate Black History Month, Ms. Melina’s Cooking Clubs used food as an avenue to learning about the hardships, the heroes and the everyday people of history. 

10-pinetarts-28053811Daycare students Kimberly and Noah from John Caboto Academy both have family from Guyana, a country in South America, often classified as part of the Caribbean region, that was colonized by the Dutch and later the British and whose populace is made up of people from colonial origins, descendants of slaves from Africa and indentured workers from India, among others (learn more at Encyclopædia Britannica).  

Kimberly and Noah both remembered a treat their grandmothers used to make called Pine Tarts. Pine Tarts are made with pie dough and fresh pineapple. This treat is a great example of how we can learn about history through food. The pie dough was brought over by the English when they colonized the country and the pineapples were native to Guyana. Pine Tarts are an example of left over British colonialism and the ingenuity of the African slaves that were brought over.  

To Kimberly and Noah though, Pine Tarts call to mind memories of their grandmothers making them these treats when they visited.   


Basic Dough Recipe (from Bon Appetite Mag with adaptations)   

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 


  1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Toss butter in flour mixture to evenly coat. Working quickly and aggressively, use your fingers to rub butter into flour to create large, shaggy pieces of dough (the idea is to smash the butter into the flour, creating some pieces that are flat and thin and some that are large and chunky). 
  2. Combine vinegar and 3 Tbsp. ice water in a small bowl and drizzle over flour mixture, running your fingers through the flour as you drizzle to evenly distribute (think of running your fingers through your hair). Knead dough in the bowl until it starts to come together (it will still look a little dry). 
  3. Turn dough out onto a work surface and knead 1 or 2 more times, pressing to incorporate shaggy edges. Divide dough into 2 pieces and press into evenly distributed logs.  
  4. Do Ahead: Dough can be made 5 days ahead; keep chilled, or freeze up to 1 month. 


For the Filling:  

  • 2 cups of finely chopped fresh pineapple  
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger  
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of ginger  


  1. Mix the chopped pineapple and spices together. Set aside.  
  2. Get the Pie dough from the fridge and while still cold cut the logs into inch thick disks.  
  3. Roll out the disks into circles.  
  4. Use about a tablespoon of filling for each tart.  
  5. Follow picture instructions to create the triangle shape.  
  6. Use one egg and beat until will blended. Brush the egg wash on the triangles.  
  7. Cook in a preheated oven at 400 degrees until golden brown (approx 10 mins).  

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