Pineapple Tarts – Nastar Cookies

It wouldn’t be Chinese New Year without Pineapple Tarts! At least that’s how Singaporeans love their CNYs! These are my all-time FAVOURITE cookies! I could eat them every day and with every meal! I remember one year being left alone with a whole box of pineapple tarts. It was snowing so heavily that I was lazy immobile. After a few hours, the only thing left in that box were crumbs…

Now I know it can be quite confusing that I use “tarts” and “cookies” interchangeably because in actuality that is how it is being described!Β These cookies may have originated from Indonesia and they sure are popular there! My grandma in Jakarta would always feed me boxes of these Pineapple-filled Cookies! (Kue Nastar)

If memory serves me right, these were the first pastries that I had ever baked in my life. I wanted to bake my favourite cookies at 13. The results were satisfactory but the whole process took about 8 hours because I used fresh pineapples and grated them by hand. I was so tired that day that I never wanted to bake again. I couldn’t imagine slaving in the kitchen for a jar of Pineapple cookies which I could buy for $10 (at the time. Last time I checked $25). But hey! Here I am! Slaving away again! πŸ˜€

For the Pineapple jam, I used J’s recipe but cut down on the sugar as I found it a little too sweet for me.

Pineapple Filling

fromΒ J's Kitchen
  • 1 kg crushed pineapples or 2 cans of pineapples (canned pineapples can come in the form of chunks / slices / crushed. Save yourself time and get the crushed please!!)
  • 2 cups sugar sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Empty the can of pineapples into a saucepan without draining as well as all the other ingredients, and cook on high heat, mashing the pineapples whilst stirring occasionally.Β Cook until the mixture is caramelized. There should be close to no liquid left.

At this point, your mixture would have significantly shrunk. I was so worried the first time I did this! “Where did the rest of my pineapple filling go?!” I re-read the instructions again and again but the texture looked okay.

Nastar Cookies from J's Dough Recipe

As for the dough, I tried J’s too but I found the dough a little hard to handle.

First Dough

(Doubled the recipe and converted the measurements)

1 cup butter, chopped and cold
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp cornstarch

Upon examining the initial recipe, it appeared to be a bit dry, so I decided to decrease the amount of flour when converting its measurements. The resulting dough was still very crumbly and did not come together very well, so I added a couple tbsp of half-and-half cream, as well as a tsp of vanilla essence to aid in working the dough.

The cookies were delicious, however, within minutes, they began developing cracks. This may have been due to the way I mixed the dough, since J’s seemed to come out perfect!

aiyayaaa.. cracks on 1st dough! 😦

Anyhow, I tried Wendy’s “melt-in-your-mouth” Pineapple TartsΒ recipe and they turned out fabulous! I noticed that the dough became a lot easier to work with when the butter was at room temperature instead of “cold”. It’s still winter in Vancouver (heck, it snowed just a few days ago!), so I made sure to leave my butter out at least 8 hours before I prepared my dough. As you can see, Wendy’s recipe required a lot more ingredients but the cream cheese really gave it a nice soft texture.. mmmm!!

Second Dough

Wendy's Recipe: (converted measurements and made slight changes)
Makes 40-50 Cookies
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (Used icing sugar as I didn’t have castor sugar)
  • 7 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 3 yolks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  1. Cream butter, icing sugar and cream cheese together with an electric mixer.
  2. Add whipping cream and mix well for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Beat in the yolks
  4. In 3 portions, add sifted flour and corn starch, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together.

Presto!!

Pineapple Tarts made from the 2nd Dough

Now comes the tedious part. Individually wrap the pineapple filling with the dough. For each tart, I used a teaspoon of pineapple filling with a tablespoon of dough (which is roughly a 1:3 ratio. You may choose to increase the amount of filling if you like.). These can really take FOREVER. That’s why home-made pineapple tarts are so expensive!!

Flatten dough and place filling in the middle
Step 2: Press the ends together, and roll till smooth

Egg Wash

J's Kitchen
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp milk / cream
  • 1 tsp honey

After wrapping 45 beautiful cookies, brush egg wash over them. Now I feel that this is the best way to bake them. Brush the egg wash over all your cookies, bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven, turn them over and bake for another 5-7 minutes. This will prevent the top from over-browning and cook the cookie more evenly! DO NOT overbake! Your cookies will still be extremely soft fresh out the oven, but they will harden after you let them cool. Overbaking will however result in very hard cookies though!

Take a Bite!!

I actually had an order for CNY from a fellow Singaporean here. Like I said, it’s almost impossible to find these cookies anywhere in Vancouver. Considering all the time I spent wrapping these tarts up, I barely made a profit. My maximum production was only 20 in an hour (without breaks πŸ˜› ).

My order of 40 tarts.. tee hee

Despite my sighs and grunts during the process, I encourage you to try making them! I absolutely LOVE these cookies! They smell and taste so divine that it’s hard to stop once you lay your hands on them. Good thing I controlled myself…. or my client wouldn’t have had much of an order left…

Shaped like the ones from Bengawan Solo

If you like, experiment with different shapes too!

Yummy!!!

Again, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!! We have 15 days of CNY! So I’m not too late for this post. πŸ˜€

32 Comments Add yours

  1. IamSimplyTia says:

    These are so pretty and they look so yummy too!!! You did an excellent job. If I were close, I’d help you celebrate by eating most of them. Hehehe!

  2. samology says:

    lol! Thanks Tia! Yeah, they’re definitely my favourite cookies.. πŸ˜€ They’re so good but so bad, because I can’t stop eating them!

  3. Anastasia says:

    Those look gorgeous! I’d feel guilty eating them!

  4. wendyywy says:

    They look great! I’m sure all your friends will love this and if it could bag you orders, they surely loved it.
    Room temperature in Vancouver is definitely different than the room temperature here. It’s 29C now at my desk. LOL.
    Because you need to cream the butter, very cold butter is not advisable, if it’s at 21-23C, then it’ll be good enough.

  5. samology says:

    hehe.. Thanks dearie! Yeah, they can be quite time-consuming but nonetheless delicious! πŸ™‚

  6. samology says:

    lol! Yeah! Hard to cream the butter when it’s too cold and hard! Omigosh! Sometimes I miss the hot weather in Singapore. Never baked while I was there though! Can’t imagine what kinds of kitchen adjustments I’d have to make if I were to return!

  7. Oh my.. you have definitely done a wonderful job with these. Each one looks more delectable and decadent than the other. Beautiful job and wonderful recipe

  8. Danelle says:

    These are so lovely! And I’m sure tasty too. πŸ™‚

  9. Lora says:

    oh how sweet! And what gorgeous pictures.

  10. Oh wow, these look amazing! I grew up eating these in Indonesia too and loved them! πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by my blog so I got to discover yours. I may try these since I have a pineapple at home and I need to find something to make with it.

  11. Lisa says:

    OK..I HAVE TO..MUST..Will die if I don’t – try these! They look so adorable and tasty, plus, how great would they be on a dessert tray in mini muffin cups – using different jams and preserves? Your recipes are always amazing, and this treat for the Lunar New Year is no exception! πŸ™‚

  12. rsmacaalay says:

    I remember I had a lot of these when I was in Singapore and Malaysia, it is so addictive, try once you want to try it all. Thanks for sharing the recipe, great shots too!

  13. samology says:

    Thanks Kay! Yeah, this recipe sure is a keeper!! πŸ™‚

  14. samology says:

    Thank you for your compliment Danelle!

  15. samology says:

    awww.. how kind of you Lora! Yes, still working on the photography side of my blogging! Wanted to experiment a little bit with “styling”! haha..

  16. samology says:

    oooh! Yeah! Indo has the best ones methinks! I tell my grandma to stop sending them to me, because I keep finishing them up by myself! hahah.. Yes do try them!! If you use fresh pineapples use a blender. MUCH easier than painstakingly grating each one.. story of my life. lol

  17. samology says:

    oooh! That’s a great idea! Yeah! I actually tried the dough recipe for making mini pecan tarts too! And they worked out quite well! Thanks for your sweet compliment! Made my day!! …or night rather since it’s 12.30am.. πŸ™‚

  18. samology says:

    mmmm!! Yeah! i tried the Malaysian ones too! My mum used to get them when she went to Malaysia! They’re cheaper than the Singaporean ones and sometimes tastier. hehe.. Thank you! I’m still working on the lighting for my pictures! Your photos are the best!!

  19. foodjaunts says:

    Oh those looks delicious! I’m picturing my family assembly line style to knock these out πŸ™‚

  20. samology says:

    hahaha..! Thanks dear!

  21. BC says:

    These were really really good, although not so fun to make in dozens….lol.

  22. samology says:

    pshhh.. What are you talking about? It’s a practice of your patience!! πŸ˜€

  23. chefconnie says:

    This is my first time to this blog. Definately clicked the follow button. Beautiful. See you soon…

  24. samology says:

    awww! That’s so sweet of you!! Thank you for following! πŸ™‚

  25. These look too gorgeous! I have never heard of pineapple tart in cookie but you have done it πŸ˜€

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  26. samology says:

    Thank you CCU!!! πŸ˜€ Do try it if you have a lot of time to spare! haha..

  27. martina says:

    Where can I buy pineapple tarts in Vancouver?

  28. Sammie says:

    Hi Martina, I’m not sure about that dear! I don’t think I’ve ever seen it sold before!! 😦

  29. Teresa says:

    I would pay almost anything for some. A co-worker introduced me to them this year and I fell in LOVE with them. Now I’m having dreams of them and I want to buy them sicne they sound very time consuming. How much would you charge to make me some and ship them to me in Maryland?

  30. Sammie says:

    Hi Teresa! Awww! I’m glad you love these! Unfortunately Maryland is. Little far from where I am now! And these cookies probably wouldn’t make it by the time they arrive! But not all hope is lost! You can always try the recipe! πŸ˜‰

  31. Liz says:

    So happy to have found your blog as I live in Richmond BC and had just baked my first pineapple tarts for CNY. Mine turned out looking pretty ugly but taste was good. I am desperately looking for a nastar press but can’t seem to find it here. Love your blog. Am going to try out your kek lapis recipe soon.

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