Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hail the King of Chinese New Year Cookies ~ The Pineapple Tarts

Chinese New Year (CNY) is slightly more than a month away and this year, I have decided to soak up a bit more of the atmosphere by attempting the CNY cookies. This is the first time that I am baking CNY cookies and with so much selection, naturally I go with my favourite cookie: Pineapple tarts. 

Apparently, I am not the only one who is crazy over pineapple tarts. Since I posted my pineapple tarts photo on facebook, I received overwhelming responses from friends requesting to sample them.  To think that they are willing to 'risk their life' to sample a first time baker's pineapple tarts, I can only attribute it to charm of the pineapple tarts. Haha..

There are many recipes on the internet and it's really hard to decide which one will be suitable for mine and my family's taste buds. But I was really lucky, the first recipe that I chose turned out to be really good and some may describe it as melt-in-the-mouth. I did try another recipe during my 2nd bake but this recipe beat it hands down. Well... if it aren't broken, why change it? And so I guess I am sticking to this recipe for the time being... till curiosity of other recipes get better of me.

Recipe adapted from Guai Shu Shu 

This cookie is baked using my Morris Tabletop Oven. 


1kg pineapple jam (I used Redman brand off-the-shelf jam)
1/2 lemon
500g plain flour
350 salted butter (softened)
50g icing sugar
4 medium size egg yolk
4 tbsp icy cold water
1 egg yolk (egg washing)

*This recipe makes about 100 pineapple balls

How to do:

Preparing the jam
1. Place the pineapple jam into a bowl or container big enough for mixing.

2. Squeeze into the jam juices from the 1/2 lemon and mix well. I included this step because I prefer my jam to be a bit on more sour side. You can omit this step if you prefer it sweet and less sour.

3. Pinch about 10g of the pineapple jam to roll it into balls. 

4. Place the jam balls into a container suitable for freezer, separate each layer with cling wrap.

5. Continue till you exhaust the rest of the jam and cover the most top layer with cling wrap or cover your container if it comes with a cover.

6. Put the jam balls into the freezer for about 2-3 hours or till it becomes rock hard. You can omit this freezing step if you can handle soft jam. I personally find frozen balls easier to handle.


Preparing the dough
1. Sift the flour 2 times and set aside for later use.
2. Place the soften butter (cut into smaller cubes) and sugar into the mixing bowl and cream them till light and fluffy. I used the lowest speed on my mixer.
3. Add in the egg yolks one at a time and continue to mix till well combine.
4. Add the sieved flour in 4 installments with each tablepoon of icy water to the batter.
5. Mix till they are well combine to be a soft dough.
6. Cover mixing bowl with cling wrap and put inside the fridge for about 1/2 hour. This will harden the dough a bit and makes it easier to handle and wrap the jam balls.


Wrapping the Jam Balls
1. Work with the a layer of jam balls and a portion of dough at a time and put the rest back into the freezer/fridge.
2. Pinch a bit of the dough, flatten it and put a jam ball on top of it.
3. Wrap the dough around the jam ball and shape it into a ball by rolling it between your palms.
4. If there's not enough dough to cover the whole jam ball, just pinch more dough and add to it.
5. Continue with the wrapping till you exhaust all the jam balls are wrapped and placed on baking tray.


Egg Washing & Baking

1. Preheat the oven at 170 degree celsius 
2. For the egg wash, lightly beat the egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water.
3. Apply the egg wash lightly onto the pineapple balls with a brush.
4. Put the tarts into the oven and starting baking for 15 minutes.
5. Take out the baking tray and apply second round of egg wash
6. Put back into the oven to bake for another 5 min or till the tart is slightly brown.

And tadah! My first pineapple tarts!

Pineapple Balls
:: Freshly Out from the Oven ::

:: I like my crust thin with mouthful of pineapple ::

When they were freshly out of the oven, there are visible cracks on the ball surface but they closed up quite a bit after cooling down. When the balls are freshly out of the oven, the crust was a bit crumbly and 'loose'. But after the balls are cooled, the crust is more 'together' but still very melt in the mouth. And the best part is the balls actually tasted even better the next few days when the taste is more settled. My family loved them!

A few days later, I attempted another recipe which is meant for Nastar version (pineapple rolls). However, I found pushing the dough through the mould too time consuming and take too much strength from my poor injured hand so I changed to open face pineapple tarts. I didn't like this recipe very much as it produced a rather dry crust and too biscuit-y crust/base.

:: Nastar & Open Face Pineapple Tarts ::

I actually had some left over dough from my 1st recipe which I kept in the fridge so I made it into open face tarts as well, just to test if the dough can be used for open face tarts. The result is pretty good! And my mom loves them because they are so pretty to look at.

So I reverted back to the original recipes and made another batch of open face pineapple tarts. It was only later that I found out that Guai Shu Shu recommend another recipe for the open face tarts because the dough from this recipe is quite soft and sticky and might stuck to the mould cutter. I did face some issue with sticky dough but chilling it in the fridge helps.

:: Pretty Flower Pineapple Tarts ::

A few things that I did differently for this flower pineapple tarts are: 
1. After the dough is cut into flower shapes and placed onto the baking tray, I put it into the freezer for about 5 minutes. This helps to harden the dough so that the prints remain when the tarts are egg washed.
2. Egg wash the tarts pastry after removing from freezer
3. Place the pineapple balls onto the base, exert a bit of pressure.As my mould is quite small, each tart only takes about 5g of pineapple jam.
4. Bake at 170 degree for 15 minutes.

:: Balls or flowers ::

A few of avid pineapple tart fans friends have tried and given them their approval for good taste and asking for refills! And my mom has requested for 100 pcs for CNY.

Lastly, 'hello' from my piggy pineapple tarts!

:: Piggy Pineapple Tarts ::


Hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well In Flanders 
and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House


  1. Hi Xinxl,
    Thanks for linking up, your pineapple tarts look great! I usually only make closed pineapple balls, since open faced pineapple tarts take too much time and I don't have the nastar mould. I like you piggy pineapple tarts, they look so cute. :)

  2. Hi Miss B,

    Trust me... You won't want to touch that nastar mould.. After making a few nastar version, I find making open faced tarts is really a piece of cake. Lol!