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Pineapple tarts is a much-loved festive cookie in Singapore, be it during Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, as well as Deepavali. The perfect pineapple tart has to have this melt-in-the-mouth buttery texture with mildly sweet and tangy pineapple jam that you can feel fine bits of pineapple as you pop one into your mouth. It’s a tedious process to make pineapple tarts from scratch, from making the pineapple jam which takes hours to perfect, although making the dough crust is quite simple and quick with the help of my new Kenwood kitchen mixer. It’s truly a labour of love, yet it’s really worth all the hardwork seeing my family enjoying it and asking for more!

pineapple tarts

What are Pineapple Tarts?

To my readers who are not familiar, pineapple tart is a bite-size cookie filled or topped with pineapple jam, commonly available in Southeast Asia. Different countries call it differently — Kue Nastar in Indonesia; Kueh Tae, Kuih Tair, or Kuih Tat Nanas in Malaysia; Peranakan pineapple tarts or Kuih Tart in Singapore; and 鳳梨酥 /fèng lí sū/ in Taiwan.

The pineapple tart originated back in the 16th century from the Peranakans, descendants of the Chinese immigrants who went to the Malay Peninsula, particularly Malacca, and married the locals. Their culinary approach was greatly influenced not only by the local Malay cuisines but also by the Portuguese when they conquered Malacca in the 16th century.

pineapple tarts

What is Pineapple Tart made of?

The recipe is made of butter, egg yolks, flour, some corn starch and sugar, giving it a soft, buttery, and melt-in-the-mouth texture. The original recipe calls for margarine but many recipes now uses butter, which is believe to be a (slightly) healthier option than margarine.

The pineapple jam is made by slowly boiling and caramelising grated fresh pineapple, with sugar and spices (cinnamon, star anise and cloves). I’ve tried using the stove top method and the air fryer method to make pineapple jam, both works perfectly. Many confectionary shops sell pre-made pineapple jam and some comes with reduced sugar, making the process of making pineapple tarts less tedious.

The form factor can be a flat open-faced tart topped with pineapple jam, golf ball shaped or oblong shaped filled with the jam, or rolls of pastry filled with the jam and are open at both ends.

pineapple jam
My homemade pineapple jam

The Perfect Pineapple Tart recipe

I adapted this recipe from Chef Anup from a TNP Straits Times article and really love the simplicity of it. Thanks Chef! I replaced the icing sugar with Stevia sweetener as a sweet substitute for my health-conscious family. I have also used cake flour during my fourth bake as I ran out of plain flour.

The differences between using plain flour and cake flour are that the dough made of cake flour will turn out fairer, stickier, and tart texture more crumbly to the bite. I also bake slightly longer than 15 minutes, extending it to 18 minutes.

I used the same dough for closed and open-faced pineapple tarts and they turned out perfect!

ingredients

Chef Anup’s recipe rolls out the dough and used a cookie cutter to cut the shape. I preferred to roll out the dough ball and then use a cookie cutter to press it into shape. See the cookie cutter shapes I used:

mold
Cookie cutters I used comes in 3.5-4mm diameter.

Watch my Pineapple Tart Recipe video on YouTube

How long can I keep the Pineapple Tarts?

My pineapple tarts rarely last more than a week as it’s so addictive to just munch it while having coffee or tea or watching TV. You can store it at room temperature for up to 2 weeks in a sealed airtight container. If you keep it in the fridge, you can keep up to a month if stored in an airtight container.

pineapple tarts
pineapple tarts

Pineapple Tarts

Melt-in-your-mouth pineapple tarts are to-die for. Known as kuih tart, kue nastar, or kueh tae, pineapple tarts are a much-loved classic pastry all time of the year. This recipe is adapted from a recipe on Straits Times. I reduced the amount of sugar and substituted it with Stevia sweetener, using the same dough recipe for both closed and open-faced pineapple tarts and got the thumbs up from my family.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Chill dough in fridge 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course chinese new year, cny, Dessert, lunar new year
Cuisine asian, Chinese
Servings 4 persons
Calories 95 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 160 g unsalted butter cubed and chilled
  • 200 g plain flour can be substituted with cake flour
  • 25 g cornflour
  • 50 g Stevia sweetener or icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks about 60g in total
  • 1 egg beaten for egg wash
  • Optional: 3 tbsp water if needed in case of dry dough
  • 300-400 g pineapple jam homemade or store-bought

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius.

Make the dough

  • Cut cold butter into small cubes (about 1.5cm) and chill in fridge until ready to use.
    cut butter
  • Add plain flour, cornflour, sugar, salt into a kitchen mixer with paddle attachment or food processor. Mix on low speed for a few seconds.
    mix flour
  • Add cold butter cubes to mixed flours and beat on low speed until mixture turns sandy and slightly doughy.
    add butter
  • Beat 2 egg yolks. Add the egg yolks into the mixture and beat on low speed until a consistent dough is formed. Add water if dough is too dry. Do not overbeat.
    dough
  • Remove dough from mixing bowl and shape into a ball. Wrap in cling wrap and let rest in fridge for 30 minutes.
    wrap with cling wrap
  • Beat 1 egg to make egg wash.
    egg wash

To make closed pineapple tarts

  • Roll out a dough ball (about 12g), make a hole in the middle, place pineapple jam (about 7g) in, gently push the edge of the dough to cover the pineapple jam completely. Roll into a round ball or shape into an oblong shape.
    tart ball
  • For pineapple shaped design, make criss-cross patterns with a butter knife.
    score lines
  • Apply a thin coat of egg wash evenly.
    egg wash
  • Bake in pre-heat oven at 180 degree celsius for 15 minutes.
    bake
  • Allow the pineapple tarts to cool for about 30-60 min before storing in air-tight containers.
    pineapple tarts

To make open-faced pineapple tarts

  • Flour cookie cutter with flour. Use cookie cutter to cut and shape dough (about 9-12g depending on cookie cutter size).
    mold
  • Apply a thin coat of egg wash evenly.
    egg wash
  • Shape pineapple jam into a ball and gently press pineapple jam on each dough so the jam sticks to the dough.
    press jam
  • Bake in pre-heat oven at 180 degree celsius for 15 minutes.
    bake
  • Allow the pineapple tarts to cool for about 30-60 min before storing in air-tight containers.
    pineapple tarts

Video

Notes

Check out my pineapple jam recipe.
This recipe yields about 468g of dough.
Plain flour can be substituted with cake flour, the dough will turn out fairer, stickier and tart texture more crumbly. You might need to bake slightly longer than 15 minutes, extending it to 18 minutes. 
I used the Prima brand plain flour in this recipe. On another occasion, I used the Blue Jacket brand plain flour, it’s much drier and takes more time to mix with the butter and is much softer to mold as well as takes slightly longer to bake (more than 15 minutes). 
This recipe uses 50g of sugar, I’ve tried reducing sugar to 25g on a separate bake, the texture came out alright.
For a 4mm diameter cookie cutter, each dough should weigh for about 12g.
For closed pineapple tarts, I used a 12g dough and a 7g pineapple jam.
It’s normal for closed pineapple tarts to crack a little after baking. 
The pastry will taste better after 1-2 days. 
Keyword dessert, Kue nastar, kueh tae, kueh tart, kuih tair, kuih tart, kuih tat nanas, nastar, Neenish Tart, Peranakan pineapple tart, pineapple cake, pineapple tart, pineapple tarts, starter, 鳳梨酥

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