Nyonya Pineapple Tarts


Makes about 50 small cookies

Nyonya or Peranakan pineapple tarts (Kueh Tair) are open faced with intricate latticework on top of each tart. Traditionally the crimped patterns on the dough were made by hand. Now we have tart molds which make the process much easier! Because these tarts are open faced, the jam must be dry enough to keep a rounded shape.
Nyonya Pineapple Tarts, Peranakan, Chinese New Year, ChineseNewYear, Lauren Monaco Illustration


For the jam
2 pineapples, about 2.5 pounds each*
1 star anise or clove
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/4 - 2 cups / 260-420 grams sugar (depending on the sweetness of the pineapple)

For the dough
160 grams unsalted butter, cubed (keep chilled until ready to use)
200g all purpose flour
25g cornstarch
50g icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
1 beaten egg (for egg wash)
3 tsp water (if needed)


*I have used canned and frozen pineapple that have been drained well before using. The cooking process might take longer to dry out the pineapple jam.
Make the jam: Peel and chop pineapple. Puree in a food processor until smooth.

In a wok, combine pineapple puree, anise, and cinnamon. Cook on high heat until almost dry, around 15 minutes. Add sugar, starting with the least amount, and stir until melted. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Continue to cook while stirring occasionally until the jam becomes light brown and begins to thicken, around 20 minutes. Lower heat slightly and continue to cook until thick and dry, stirring continually to prevent burning. Jam should end up having a thick and dry consistency.

Let jam cool. Jam can be made one day ahead and stored in fridge.

Make the dough: Combine flour, cornstarch, icing sugar and salt into bowl of a mixer with paddle attachment or a food processor. Mix for a few seconds to combine. Add in cold cubed butter and beat with paddle on low speed or pulse in a food processor until mixture is sandy. Add in egg yolks and beat until a dough forms. Do not overbeat. Add water if dough is too dry. Shape into a ball. Can be made ahead and stored in fridge overnight.

Assemble the tarts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough on flour dusted counter. Use tart cutter to cut and shape dough. Arrange cut dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush egg wash on cut dough.

Shape 1/2 teaspoons of pineapple jam filling into a ball and place in center of each cut dough. Gently tap down so that the filling adheres to the dough. (Add latticework on top of tart at this point if desired).

Bake for 12-16 minutes, depending on size. Let cool to room temperature. Store in air-tight containers or freeze for later.

No comments: