Pineapple Tarts (Tat Nenas)

February 12, 2010

I really have to be thankful to The Mother who has made my first foray into Chinese New Year baking a heck easier. When I planned to make kuih bangkit, I had no idea that she had stashed away, a set of beautiful traditional molds to make it more authentic. And then, just when I was planning to make open pineapples tarts with mere cookie cutters and a deft hand, lo and behold, she comes brandishing the proper pineapple tart molds! What else has she been keeping from me?

I also have to thank food blogger friend and fellow Malaysian, A Table For Two for being my virtual baking buddy for CNY. Our constant chats, taste tests and tweets about our Malaysian baking exploits has made my Chinese New Year cooking for 2010 a ball of fun. Oh yes, I foresee a mass CNY bake-off in the near future. Be sure to check out his tasty versions of pineapple tarts and peanut cookies and give it a try for yourself.

Ok enough end-of-year sentiments and let’s talk food! These pineapple tarts completes the holy trinity of Malaysian cookies for Chinese New Year. We started off with the coconutty Kuih Bangkit, then the peanutty, er, peanut cookies and now these tarts, which is the ‘cookie’ to rule all cookies. The combination of the buttery, melty and crumbly pastry with the chewy, sweet pineapple is the ultimate pleasure incarnate and my love for it has not waned one bit.

The recipe comes from my favourite Malaysian cookbook that was published back in 1976. The pastry is dead easy but spot on in terms of buttery-ness and crumbly-ness (my English good yes?). The glucose syrup and flour wasn’t part of the original recipe and are purely optional but they were great tips I picked up from A Table for Two. The glucose makes the jam more sticky and gummy, which makes it easier to mold and also makes it more bitey and chewy. The flour was used for drying out the jam further, as excessive liquid can be a problem with tinned pineapples if you don’t drain them thoroughly. But it isn’t the end of the world if you choose to skip these.

I prefer these in an open tart style and as you can see, I love the pineapple jam so much that I’m not afraid to pile on huge mounds of it! When it comes to the pastry and jam ratio, I definitely prefer more jam so that’s why I also skipped layering on pastry lattices over the top of the cookie. Whatever shape or form, I have to admit that these pineapple tarts would have to be my favourite Malaysian biscuit of all time and I’m elated that I finally took the plunge in making them.

Sadly for me, I’ve devoured all my cookies and it’s not even the big day yet! I couldn’t even stop eating them while I was taking photos, greedy greedy girl! But I can take the hint, especially when The Captain comes homes with two huge 825g tins of pineapple and a sly grin. Guess I know what I’ll be doing on February 14th and it ain’t going to involve roses and a candlelit dinner.

Finally Gong Xi Fat Choi to you all and may the new year be prosperous, happy, healthy etc etc. Ah heck, may your new year be filled with food. And lots of it!

Pineapple Jam


533g of grated or crushed pineapple flesh (from 3 x 440g tins of Golden Circle crushed pineapple in juice, drained well)
250g of caster sugar (adjust to your taste but reduce the sugar if you’re using tinned pineapples in syrup)
4 cloves
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
juice of half a lime
2 tsp of glucose syrup (optional)
1 – 1.5 tsp of plain flour (optional)


In a heavy based saucepan, bring all the ingredients to a boil, stirring frequently to combine and dissolve sugar.

Reduce heat to low and stir regularly for about 30 minutes until pineapple jam is dry. At this stage you can add the glucose syrup and mix to combine. If you’re using flour, sprinkle it in now and continue to cook.

Make sure you stir it frequently as the bottom will burn easily. Once it’s thick and jammy, take it off the heat, remove the cinnamon, cloves and star anise and allow to cool completely.


8 oz plain flour (about 226g)
5 oz unsalted butter, chopped (about 145g)
1 egg
1 Tbl cold water
pinch of salt (skip it if you’re using salted butter)

In a food processor, blitz together the flour and butter until it resembles bread crumbs.

Add the egg and cold water and blitz until it comes together (if it’s dry add a little more cold water until it just binds).

Bring it together and shape into a disc (do not knead too much). Wrap it in clingwrap and refrigerate for an hour.

To Assemble Tarts

Preheat oven to 180°C. Using your hands roll out teaspoons of pineapple jams into balls and place aside.

Roll out the pastry dough to a 0.5cm thickness between two sheets of non stick paper. Remove the top sheet of paper and use your pineapple tart mold to cut out shapes or alternatively use a small round or fluted cutter to cut out your biscuits and use your thumb to make a dent in the middle. Remove excess dough and slide the baking paper with the pastry onto your baking sheet.

Place the molded balls of pineapple jam into the dent in each biscuit and bake for 15-20 mins until the pastry is slightly golden. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Note: If you would like a more golden hue to the pastry, brush tarts with a little beaten egg before baking. Alternatively you could always cut out think strips of pastry to decorate your tarts in a lattice style (I prefer more jam to pastry and less work so I always skip this step… lazy me!).

Store tarts in airtight containers. I’m not sure how long it’ll keep because they never last long in my house but sources have told me that maybe a few days to a week will be best.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire March 12, 2013 at 19:29

I’venever baked any cookies in my life and decided to try this as pineapple jam tarts are my absolute favourite and I can’t buy them here in London. This is my first try and it’s awesome! Great recipe. I just can’t stop eating them- once you pop you can’t stop! Bad for the hips :(


citrusandcandy February 3, 2011 at 13:27

Hi Jessica,

Did you try the recipe with the pineapple tarts or did you use it for something else? This pastry is suppose to be a little on the non-sweeter side like a savoury shortcrust pastry to complement the pineapple jam, which is of course, is much sweeter. It's def not the type of pastry that I'd recommend for any other dessert.

As for the puff pastry thing… umm… I'm scratching my head about that one because this pastry is suppose to be like a crumbly biscuitty shortcrust (so called short because of the use of shortening or butter to create the texture). Puff pastry is made by rolling butter into the dough and repeatedly folding over and rolling to create layers that will 'puff' up in the oven from steam. I'm not sure how my shortcrust pastry recipe would create flaky layers like a puff pastry.

Hope this helps :)


Jessica October 4, 2010 at 04:49

Big fan of your site!

Decided to try this pastry recipe, but I was a little disappointed. It needed a bit of icing sugar & perhaps cornflour as I found it wasn't sweet enough & the pastry was too puff pastry-like.

Might try some other recipes off your blog though. Fantastic!


Laura February 28, 2010 at 03:30

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is the Jewish holiday of Purim, and these tarts remind me of a cookie traditionally eaten on this holiday: hamantachen. Except that the sides get folded up to enclose the filling in a triangle shape (I am not explaining this well, but if you look at my hamantaschen post–or just google hamantaschen–you will see what I mean).

The trick with hamantaschen is getting the filling to not be all runny. So, I am really fascinated by your pineapple filling and the whole glucose and flour trick to make a thick chewy filling.

Anyway . . now I am wishing I made this pineapple filling for my hamantaschen! I have to bookmark this for next year.


bakeinparis February 15, 2010 at 10:13

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fat Choi! These pineapple tarts look delicious and are one of my favorite cookies of CNY…..

Wish you joy, luck, and lots of success for many years to come!


zurin February 14, 2010 at 13:03

Beautiful tarts!!! The jams sounds so delectable..ill try ur version son, Just want to wish you a very Happy Chinese New Year and may yo have many more prosperous ones ahead! (^^)….xx xzurin


chocolatesuze February 14, 2010 at 06:27

heh i love my pineapple filling to crust ratio too! happy cny dude!


penny aka jeroxie February 13, 2010 at 13:57

Cuteness! I have kept some for tomorrow but I have a feeling that it will all be eaten. Till the next time and I need to make sure I get myself some proper moulds.


shaz February 13, 2010 at 03:17

How lucky you've got the wooden moulds! These tarts look great – like you, I've eaten my stash, so just made some emergency peanut cookies to take to a gatehring tonight :)

Gong Xi Fa Cai!


amy February 12, 2010 at 16:42

i am totally opp of you! i love crust wayyy more than filling! my mom made melt-in-your-mouth ones these year and nothing beats her handmade tarts! hahaha. however, i am reallly craving for these open ones and yours looks perfect, of course, i would give some of the filling in mine to my sister who like you loves filling more than crust:) happy cny karen:)


NasiLemakLover February 12, 2010 at 14:03

Wishing you a Happy CNY !


jo February 12, 2010 at 11:07

Karen, your pineapple tarts looks great. Hope you have a great CNY.


agnes sim February 12, 2010 at 10:35

wow..your photos here is awesome!! May i know wat lens u are using to shoot those pic? Happy CNY. ;-) 1st time visit your blog.


Chris February 12, 2010 at 05:18

Thx for sharing the recipe – I love pineapple tarts and I've lost my recipe a long time ago.


Sara February 12, 2010 at 04:52

Oh yum!!


Tangled Noodle February 12, 2010 at 02:57

You can keep making CNY cookies for as long as you like – I love them all! The pineapple jam would be great all year round.


mbe February 12, 2010 at 01:18

Those look fantastic! Great post and love the photos, can't wait to try the recipe.


Su-yin February 12, 2010 at 00:31

I can relate to eating CNY cookies before the new year even begins as I do it all the time.. especially when it comes to pineapple tarts (and groundnut cookies as well for that matter). Who could say no to all that yummy crumbly goodness? ;)

Your jam tarts look great, I like the tip about using glucose syrup to make the jam bind better. I have yet to make them – but you guys have definitely inspired me to take the plunge and have a go at them!


food.4.two February 11, 2010 at 23:16

So pretty. I love the pineapple jam :)


joey@FoodiePop February 11, 2010 at 21:49



Steph February 11, 2010 at 21:29

Oh so jealous of all your traditional moulds! Loving the ratio of jam to pastry there :)


Rose February 11, 2010 at 18:53

WOW! Those look wonderful! Like little yellow gems :D Yum! Beautiful tarts.


Cindy February 11, 2010 at 16:33

Very beautiful!!


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