Every Chinese New Year, I excitedly buy the petite Pineapple Tarts from my favorite Malaysian-Singapore restaurant. Their Pineapple Tarts are much sought after this time of year. Often I get disappointed when they run out. I have to call in my order weeks in advance.
So when I didn’t get my favorite, tiny pastry treats, I decided to bake my own version of Pineapple Tarts. I found a recipe from another food blogger. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. In fact, it was “easy as pie”, pardon the pun.
The crust came out delicate and buttery. The family verdict was unanimous. My crust was a winner! The pineapple filling was made a day before and chilled to firm up. The crushed pineapple’s natural sweetness was made more amazing by simmering it slowly till it became sticky and had a jam-like consistency. And together, it was a perfect Pineapple Tart just in time for Chinese New Year.
Preparations for Chinese New Year start 14 days and one month before the actual day. Traditionally, it is important the house must be thoroughly cleaned. At times walls are repainted, and drapes are washed. Shopping for new food supplies and lots of cooking are also practiced. *
Asian families get together and celebrate with big feasts. This is a traditional time for Asian families to give thanks for the many blessings received. My niece, Tsui Chern, who lives in the midwest, was excitedly cooking and cleaning when she wrote to me a few weeks ago. Her parents, KL and Catherine were arriving in the USA, and had come from Singapore to celebrate the Chinese New Year with the rest of the family. Tsui Chern told me they were inviting some close family friends in their area for a Chinese New Year feast.
As for Pineapple Tarts , Tsui Chern did confirm they’re a traditional treat in Singapore. Here’s what she said:
” My parents arrived yesterday. And yes, they brought with them pineapple tarts (from Singapore). It is one of the many New Year cookies. Pineapple signifies blooming prosperity so we include it in our cooking or pastries.”
I live far away from my niece, Tsui Chern. But if I was close by, I’d bake these Pineapple Tarts in a jiffy and bring them over, freshly baked, and to wish her many good wishes for prosperity, good fortune and much happiness!
Meanwhile, take a bite-sized tart from my newly baked batch … here’s to a fiercely progressive and very lucky Chinese Lunar New Year !
- Adapted from FreshFromTheOven.com
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1 and ½ cup all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, chilled
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg mixed with ¼ cup water, for egg wash
- Sift the flour, cornstarch, sugar together. Set aside.
- Beat the butter in a mixer, till fluffy. Add the eggyolks one at a time.
- Add the butter mix slowly to the flour mixture. Beat till it becomes like a pie pastry consistency.
- Form into a disc. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or even overnight.
For the Pineapple Filling:
1 large can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, drain but keep the syrup for cooking
¼ cup sugar
1 and ½ Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Cook the pineapple and sugar on low heat. Add a few tablespoons of the pineapple juice or syrup from the can, a little at a time, to prevent pineapple from burning or sticking. Keep stirring every now and then.
- Add the cornstarch to thicken once the pineapple starts to turn darker. Keep stirring till it thickens. This will take about an hour to make.
- Let the filling cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight so it can firm up.
To Assemble Pineapple Tarts:
- Roll the dough on floured surface. Cut with a cookie cutter, tiny circles measuring 2 inches in diameter.
- Fill the center of the dough with 2 teaspoons of pineapple filling. Brush the sides with eggwash.
- Top with another circle. Seal edges with your thumb by pressing both pastries together.
- Place tarts on parchment lined baking sheets. Brush tops with egg wash.
- Bake in preheated oven 350F degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Then brush the tops of pastry again with more egg wash. Bake for another 5 minutes.
- When done, cool on racks.
ASIAN SPICY RIBS, a Chinese New Year favorite on our table
*Reference for some Chinese New Year traditions: “Culinaria Southeast Asia” A Journey through Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia” by H.F.Ullmann