Pineapple Tarts Recipe

Recipe updated Jan 2014

So how does one turn this …

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

… into this?

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

Well, let me tell you. With a little bit of patience and effort, you can!

Pineapple tarts is a popular Chinese New Year delicacy in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is one of my favourite snacks when I go visiting during CNY. I wanted to quietly celebrate CNY in Melbourne, so I bought myself a small jar of pineapple tarts from Jerky House for $15.

They were an absolute fail.

Clay-like pastry with artificial flavourings and a filling that’s too sweet. I brought the jar to work and even my ang moh colleagues who aren’t that fussy only picked at the jar slowly.

My friend Aelle was telling me that Singaporean and Malaysian aunties are baking the tarts at home and selling them at Glen Waverley grocers. But I thought, why search for these elusive “aunty tarts” that only arrive at the Glen’s grocers on Saturdays? I should take things into my own hands and make them myself!

So one sunny Saturday afternoon, Ees and I embarked on project pineapple tarts. It was arduous work, especially for Ees who did most of the stirring and pastry making, but they turned out pretty good.

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

After some taste feedback from Ees and Jo, I made another batch the Wednesday after with some recipe adjustments. I was quite happy with the result. Actually very happy. Feedback from Aunty Rita and her high maintenance Malaysian and Singaporean friends was that we could start a business selling these tarts during CNY. Haha, no thank you. Too leh cheh (tedious).

Pineapple Tarts RecipeA ‘gift’ jar of pineapple tarts for the people I know would appreciate them

I’m happy to share my findings here and would encourage you to try out the recipe cos I think it’s quite good. But first of all, you have to know my preference profile. Each member of my family likes it differently. I think mum prefers it soft and crumbly. Dad and grandma prefers tarts with a firm pastry. In fact, grandma likes the pastry and filling almost biscuit-like, which is funny cos she.. umm *koff* —> dentures. Lol!! I like my pastry crumbly when bitten and it has to have a hint of salt. And I like my pineapple filling to have fibres in it and be on the tart side rather than sweet. Tarts made using store-bought pineapple jams just won’t taste the same nor have the same texture as authentic pineapple filling. And lastly, I don’t like the use of any flavourings and extracts in the tarts.

So to sum it up, this recipe will probably give you a firm-yet-crumbly pastry that is slightly salty, and a filling that’s texturally fibrous with a tangy zing to it. If it sounds good, try it! I’ll post it below. : )

Pineapple Filling

You may want to do the filling the night before. The actual grating and cooking process can take quite awhile. I was silently cursing under my breath when I had to stand in front of the stove for a whole hour simmering and stirring the ingredients on low heat until it reduced into a nice golden sticky filling.

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

The only way to get good filling is to use fresh pineapples. If the pineapples are very ripe and sweet, you may need to reduce the sugar in the recipe.

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

And to get the fibrous texture in the filling, the pineapples should be hand-grated rather than blended in a food processor. I did blend the bits of hard pineapple core that were difficult to grate though. (Note: the traditional grater on the right that mom got for me worked much better)

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

Sieving the juices from the grated pineapple. If you don’t sieve it, then you’ll be standing in front of the stove stirring for half a day, haha!

Pineapple Tarts RecipeHere’s the cooked pineapple filling.

Pastry Making

Pastry is a temperamental brat. The same pastry recipe will give varying outcomes under different hands. Do it on a day with different weather, say its warmer or more humid, and it might again turn out different under your hands! How annoying. I think the art of pastry-making relies a lot on skill, instinct and intuition. I am humbled that I have so much more to learn. Since the publication of this recipe, I’ve made these tarts many times and can now share with you some of the things I’ve learnt.

Back then, we tried 2 methods… one using the spoon to mix, and the other using the rubbing-in method. I think the rubbing-in method works well and will post that. But since 2014, I’ve also started using a pastry cutter, such a gadget person… me!

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

Ees stirring the ingredients using the spoon method.

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

Mid-way through the rubbing-in method under my hands. (NB: I probably should’ve handled it less to create an even more crumbly texture)

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

And here’s my latest toy, a pastry cutter. The cornerstone of making beautiful pastry involves using cold cold cold ingredients (I even chilled the sieved flour, and worked in an air-conditioned room!) and minimal handling of the dough. So I assume that a cool metal pastry cutter works better than warm fingertips… unless you have icy hands!

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

I stopped mixing when the pastry reached the coarse flecky texture (pictured left) and started adding the ice cold water then. I also stopped using the pastry cutter (if you have one) at the stage where the dough started clumping behind the blades (pictured right).

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

Even when it’s quite crumbly, start combining the dough into a ball without overworking it too much. It’s okay to have flecks of butter in the dough. Wrap it in plastic and allow it to rest in the fridge for an hour.

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

I know making these tarts can be quite terok (Malay: tedious and arduous), but here’s some refreshing respite. You can drink the sieved juices from the grated pineapples!

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

The pastry is rolled to about 4mm thick.

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

PS: After I shared this recipe, mom even got me these perspex boards cut to the exact width for precision rolling…! But to be honest, they aren’t necessary, just estimate. =)

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

And here’s my pineapple tart cutter. It’s small and gives you neat bite-sized tarts. Using this mould, the recipe below gave me 160 tarts (more to share around and give away!). I’m not sure if you can find these piston moulds in Melbourne, but a quick eBay search will probably nab you pretty similar mould cutters.

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

What a pretty sight!

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

You could almost want to eat them even before baking! I had to smack Ees’s hands and say “Hands off!” :D

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

Egg-washing is the one part that I hate doing, it’s so fiddly! But it’s an essential step in order to get a nice golden brown pastry.

Pineapple Tarts RecipeOkay Ees. You can eat them after I take this picture.

Pineapple Tart Recipe

Adapted From Mum’s Recipe
(Updated Jan 2014)
.

Pineapple Filling:

.
Ratio of filling ingredients:
1.2kg grated raw pineapple (after sieving)
300g castor sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves
.
  • Consider making this a day in advance, it’s time consuming
  • Grate 2 large pineapples or 4 medium pineapples
  • Sieve the juices until the grated pineapple is less wet
  • Place the grated pineapple, cinnamon sticks and cloves into a non-stick pot
  • Cook over low heat stirring all the time until pineapple turns translucent (approx 15 mins)
  • Add the sugar and continue to cook until pineapple turns a golden colour and has a semi-soft sticky texture (approx 30-60mins)
  • Allow to cool and refrigerate until you are ready to make the pastry
.

Firm-Crumbly Pastry:

.
600g plain flour
1/2 to 1 tsp fine salt (your preference)
60g icing sugar
400g salted butter (cut into small pieces)
4 egg yolks
2tbsp ice cold water
.
  • Sieve the flour, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl
  • Remove butter from fridge, cut into small pieces and add to the bowl
  • Gently rub-in the butter into the flour using fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs (alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter)
  • Add the egg yolks and continue to mix with hands (or pastry cutter)
  • Do not overwork the dough, it’s okay to have flecks of butter in it
  • Slowly add the iced water and mix gently with hands till the pastry starts binding together and leaves the sides of the mixing bowl
  • At this stage, stop mixing and start compressing the bits into a crumbly ball of dough
  • Wrap pastry in a sheet of plastic and chill in fridge for 1hour, the dough will become quite hard, that’s normal
  • Keep in fridge as you take small batches out to roll
.
For Egg Wash: 
Beat 2 egg yolks + ¼ tsp water
.
  • Line pastry board with a plastic sheet and place a small portion of pastry on it
  • Cover pastry with another sheet of plastic
  • Roll dough to about 4mm thick
  • Use tart mould to cut out the tart, place on baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
  • Use a soft fine brush to glaze the tarts with egg wash
  • Roll a small ball of filling, flatten slightly and place on centre of tart
  • Decorate the top by placing bits of cut-out pastry
  • Bake in pre-heated oven at 170ºC for 20-25 mins or till tarts are a nice golden brown.

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

For more home-baked goodies and comforting home recipes, check out my recipe index.

Pineapple Tarts RecipeClosed Pineapple Tarts

If you haven’t got a tart mould you can make closed tarts (PS: I’d make 25% more pastry than what’s on the recipe if making closed tarts). Just flatten a piece of pastry on your hand to about 3-4 inches in diameter, place filling in the middle and wrap. Glaze it with egg wash, then use a knife to create lines on top to give a design. Bake as above, but after the 25mins, egg wash the tarts again and bake for a further 5 mins.

.Pineapple Tarts Recipe

So this is my first Nyonya kueh project for this year. I hope to make more types of kueh kueh soon! Granted, they tend to be quite fiddly to make, but if done well, they are just soo yummy!

For more homebaked goodies (like ang ku kueh), check out my Recipe Index.

Pineapple Tarts Recipe

46 Responses

  1. Billy
    Billy at · Reply

    Good job! They look super yummy. I have friends from Singapore and Malaysia who go crazy for these, but I never really liked them that much. I'm thinking that might be because they were store-bought ones that were too sweet. But when Penny made some last year, they were really good! I guess you're right about everyone having different pineapple tart preferences!

  2. deb @ bearheadsoup
    deb @ bearheadsoup at · Reply

    they look good! perfect for sweet tooth me, they're going on my to-try list!!
    My recent post Mooncakes and hungry ghosts

  3. imsohungree
    imsohungree at · Reply

    Wow gorgeous! :) My mum goes on a massive baking spree around CNY making these and peanut cookies as well. Yours look so good, very good work for your first go! :)
    My recent post Restaurant DANSK

  4. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Thanks Billy. You're right! Sg n M'sian denizens do go crazy about these tarts. Myself included. Homemade ones reminds us of home. : )

    I am curious how it'll turn out if I owned a cake mixer. Mmmm …

  5. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Oooh you're so so lucky to have mum make these every CNY! :D

  6. Sebastien
    Sebastien at · Reply

    I am definitely stealing this recipe and trying it out~! I had pineapple tarts in Singapore a few weeks ago and it was so yummy :)

  7. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Try it out and let me know whether you like the result! : )

  8. penny aka jeroxie
    penny aka jeroxie at · Reply

    Love LOVE pineapple tarts! Made some a couple of years ago and yes… tedious.. especialy stirring of the pineapple. But I had the pineapple juice too! hahahaaaaa

    Need to get the moulds when I head back. Come over to my kitchen to make nonya kueh?

  9. beautifulamnesia
    beautifulamnesia at · Reply

    Awesome … and I can vouch for the end result! Super yummy!

  10. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    I would absolutely love to make kueh together! Two people makes much easier work, and I think I'll learn stuff from you too. :)

  11. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Yay thanks for vouching. I especially value it when it comes from a Singaporean/Malaysian! :D

  12. Hannah
    Hannah at · Reply

    Can you please come to Canberra and bring me these? Please? I want desserts and pineapple and deliciousness too!

  13. Ellie
    Ellie at · Reply

    Hiii! So glad I found your blog! :D Through Hannah's. Wowww woww you're so talented! I'm impressed~and i must say~your blog name is very cute :P

  14. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Haha I've eaten them all already, save for 1 lonely tart kept in a jar to see how long it keeps for. You should come to Melb during CNY! I think I'll bake these things again then! :D

  15. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Thanks Ellie!

  16. @cltyw
    @cltyw at · Reply

    I have the same mould! Mum got it for me back home :-D
    Even though it's pretty time consuming,homemade pineapple tarts still taste the best!

    1. Polat
      Polat at · Reply

      I love your blog – I check it every time I’m at work and have almost fielld a booklet with things to try from here. One question, though – do you have any suggestions for picky eaters that don’t love cream cheese? I can’t wait to make a key lime icing, but my boyfriend and I aren’t big fans of cream cheese, so I’m hoping there’s an alternative. Thanks!!

  17. Loveforfood
    Loveforfood at · Reply

    i love pineapple tarts.. especially during CNY.

  18. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Yes, they addictive. Are you going to make some this year?

  19. Samantha
    Samantha at · Reply

    Hey Fatbooo! I’ve been looking for an authentic recipe after trying an ‘aunty’s’ homemade pineapple tarts and I think yours fits the bill perfectly :D It had pineapple fibres in it and the pastry was firm & crumbly… plus I also love the tartness of pineapple. Thanks so much for sharing it! I must try this as soon as the opportunity arises :)

  20. Audrey
    Audrey at · Reply

    Wow drooling here! Just bought one box of R&S pineapple tarts fron Glen Waverley shop for A$6.00! So ex but really craving them being pregnant and having gestational diabetes. Seems like a lot of work making them. And yours really look like theirs! Yum!

    1. rustie2
      rustie2 at · Reply

      Hi Audrey
      Are you living in Glen Waverley ? you can get nice pineapple tarts?

  21. Angel
    Angel at · Reply

    Your picture sound great !!!!

    Where did your mum bought the pineapple tart mould with the black handle…. Did she bought it from Melaka or KL..

    I love pineapple tarts.. Delicious tarts…..

  22. amos ho
    amos ho at · Reply

    Hi, Amos here from Singapore. I followed your recipe and the tart turn out crumpy. My wife likes it soft when chewed upon. How can I make the tart softer? Thanks.

  23. leesa
    leesa at · Reply

    i am trying out this few days, will come back and tell u how it goes ! thank you for sharing !

  24. Angeline
    Angeline at · Reply

    Tried ur recipe for the crust. Loved it! It’s was my first time baking but my tarts turned out looking really good. Easy to follow recipe. I used ready made pineapple paste which turned out to be quite nice, not too sweet and had the fibre in it as well.
    Gonna look through your other recipes and try them out again soon. Happy lunar new year in advance!

  25. arlene
    arlene at · Reply

    hi….. im so glad coz i finally found this reciept… i’ve been craving for this yummy pineapple cookies… i miss singapore foods badly… thanks for sharing…

  26. Lian Chin Way
    Lian Chin Way at · Reply

    Thanks for sharing, I followed the recipe and made very tasty pineapple tart that my whole family like. Once again thanks for this first class recipe and instruction, I certainly hope more people will try this out instead of buying ready made ones.

  27. MinAi
    MinAi at · Reply

    Great recipe! I am a Malaysian and live in Ghana and needed a quick CNY fix to help me get into the festive season. It was all worth the effort and your recipe worked so well. :) Now my family and I have tarts to last us for days (they’ll be gone soon!) but they definitely are worth the effort!!

  28. vina
    vina at · Reply

    in indonesia we call pineapple tarts with nastart (nanas tart) and it not only sale on CNY but in lebaaran (ied day) and natal (chrismas day)

  29. barb
    barb at · Reply

    our singaporean family has moved to melbourne and missing all the yummy singapore dishes.
    so thank you so much for this! i made a batch the other day and they were divine … the kids are thrilled.
    next on the list, mooncakes and bak chang.

  30. Steph
    Steph at · Reply

    Hi, these look sooo good! How many tarts (approx) does this recipe yield?
    Thanks :)

  31. Madeline
    Madeline at · Reply

    Never seen a tart cutter like yours – where can I find this ? Salivating just looking at your pics !

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