What is Chinese New Year without pineapple tart? This super auspicious cookies is a must in every household. And I don’t want to be boring, going on and on about how pineapple tart is the one cookies that is the most sought after cookies during this this time of the year. So I just go and start ranting about how I managed to replicate my aunties’ precious cookies.
First thing first, our pineapple tarts are not really “tarts”, they are rolled cookies with pineapple fillings. Mother was telling me the other day that many, many years ago, when they were little, there was this old lady who lived across the street selling pineapple cakes during Chinese New Year started making this shape, claiming that her Dutch employer did it that way. I have also never seen anybody make their pineapple tarts this way. Malaysians and Singaporeans would make them into pretty tiny little tart with pineapple on top of the crust. Indonesians make theirs into round cookies with round pineapple jam fillings.
We, in Indochine Kitchen, roll them up into logs and cut them up nicely before brushing them with egg wash. I think the politically-correct foodie would call our pineapple tarts as pineapple shortbreads, but I wouldn’t worry about it. If you ever wonder what the heck is this nastar everybody is talking about here, it is the pineapple tart!
I would like to state that I have cooked up 20 pineapples to make the jam, burnt 4 batches of cookies, baked 5 batches of literally inedible hard and ugly tarts, and one super sour batch – when I mistaken baking soda to cornflour. I felt awful and super stupid during the last part, by the way. At the end of last week, I felt that I have seen enough of pineapple tarts. Then I changed my mind the next day. They are so pretty and shiny and delicate! I hide them in my secret hiding place, to keep them away from my brother’s and boyfriend’s prying hands.
Grab your seat, hold your mouse, and here it comes. Indochine Kitchen’s Pineapple Tarts with homemade pineapple jam!
Peel pineapples and cut them up into medium-sized pieces. Some would suggest getting rid of the middle part of the fruit, we never do. I hate to waste the core.
Puree pineapples in a blender. Until it resembles delicious smoothie.
Combine puree, sugar, cloves and cinnamon in a thick pan and cook over low heat, until it thickens. Grab a chair. Or a book. Or a friend. This takes hours. 3-4 hours, mostly. And it needs to be stirred continuously to avoid burning.
When it thickens, remove the cloves and cinnamon stick. Let cool. Use it in your recipe right then and there, or store them in airtight container and refrigerate. Can last for 3 months if really thick and dry, 1 month if you prefer it to be slightly moisty. (Definitely not a word, but I am using it anyway)
And here’s the fun part! By the way, in case you notice, preparing the pineapple jam is the boring part. Or you can take the highway and grab the ready-made pineapple jam for pineapple tart.
Fill the jam in a triangle plastic fitted with a round tip.
Tie them up nicely.
In a mixer bowl, combine butter and confectioners’ sugar.
Cream those two using wire whisk attachment, over medium speed for about 4-5 minutes.
This is half-way done.
Nice and fluffy.
Add egg yolks, one at a time. Beat well.
The butter and sugar mixture is ready now.
Add the flour mixture (that’s flour, powdered milk and cornflour) and beat using paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes.
Remember to stop the mixing two or three times to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl so all ingredients are mixed properly. Cover up the dough with a piece of plastic or clean kitchen towel to avoid drying out while working with small batches of the dough.
Prepare a 20 x 35 cm food grade plastic (not shrink wrap). Fold them into two right in the middle, length-wise, and then fold them again. The plastic should be 5 x 35 cm by the time you are done.
Grab 50 g of cookie dough. Knead vigorously. Until the dough color lightens slightly and becomes smooth. This is when the dough is ready to be used. Form it into small log.
Place the log in the middle part of the plastic and fold it according to the lines you have prepared before.
Roll the dough into rectangle of 5 x 28 cm. Try as hard as you can to get even thickness through out the rectangle.
Pipe pineapple jam on top of the dough, in a neat line, as even as you humanely could.
Grab both ends of the plastic (left and right) and gently roll the dough down. Don’t apply too much pressure or the jam would be squeezed to either ends.
Gently apply pressure on the spot where the top of the dough meets the lower ends. Seal the dough lightly with your fingers.
Make sure the log is round and tight. Pretty!
Peel the plastic off slowly. Observe calmly if the log is nice and neat, with the same thickness from left to right. Can you now tell how annoying I am? I have to get everything precise. If not, I might just go crazy.
Cut the log into 4 cm-length piece. Roll each one of them lightly to ensure there’s no opening or cracks.
Arrange them on greased pan.
Do this again and again and again until you run out of dough, or pineapple jam. Or both.
Combine egg yolks with condensed milk. Strain the mixture and get rid off the parts that can’t go through the strainer. This would ensure nice wash.
Use a small pastry brush for this very, very important part.
Coat the cookies with egg wash mixture. Twice.
Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes till golden.
Let cool and store in airtight container. Serve these to your guests this rabbitty Chinese New Year!
Pineapple Tarts, Nastar
For pineapple jam
2 kg pineapple, roughly 4 medium sized pineapples
600 g sugar
5 cm cinnamon stick
200 g butter
50 g confectioners' sugar
40 g powdered milk
280 g flour, low gluten or all purpose
20 g cornflour
2 egg yolks
For egg wash
3 egg yolks
1/4 tsp condensed milk
For pineapple jam
Puree pineapple in an electric blender till smooth.
Combine puree with sugar, cloves and cinnamon stick in a pot. Cook over low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring continually.
When it thickens and can be piped or rolled, remove from heat.
The jam will thicken during cooling. Prepare this one day in advance. You will end up with 500-600 g pineapple jam, enough for one batch.
Preheat oven to 150 degree Celsius
Sift flour, powdered milk and corn flour twice.
In a mixer bowl, combine butter and sugar. Cream till light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, over high speed.
Add egg yolk, one at a time. Beating well.
Add flour mixture into the bowl and beat over low speed using paddle attachment. Do this for 4-5 minutes, until everything is mixed well.
Work with 50 g of dough one at a time. Roll dough between plastic sheet to 0.2 cm thickness.
Pipe pineapple jam on top of the dough. Roll the dough to cover up the jam completely.
Use a pair of scissors to cut them up into 4cm log and arrange on greased pan.
Brush with egg wash mixture twice using small pastry brush.
Bake in preheated oven till golden, 15-20 minutes.
Let cool and store in airtight container.