I decided to bake my own Pineapple Tarts- Pastry Treats for the Chinese Lunar New Year when an Asian restaurant I frequent stopped selling them. Every year at the start of the auspicious lunar celebration, I make sure we have a bounty of these bite-sized pineapple pastries encased in a buttery, flaky dough — paired with Tikoy or Nian Gao and other Chinese food for good luck and prosperity.
The crust was a winner because it came out delicate and buttery. I cooked the pineapple filling a day before and chilled it 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 to invite prosperity and good luck into our home.
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 done.
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 America, and had come from Singapore to celebrate the Chinese New Year with the rest of the family. Tsui Chern told me they were inviting close family friends 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 !
Pineapple Tarts- Pastry Treats for Chinese New Year
- Stock pot: 6 to 8 quarts
- Large Baking Sheets
- Round cookie cutters: 2-inches in diameter
- Rolling pin
For Pineapple Filling:
- 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple drained; reserve syrup
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 Tablespoons pineapple juice from syrup of the canned pineapple
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
For Pastry Dough:
- 1 cup chilled unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 whole eggs chilled; use straight from the refrigerator
- 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
For egg wash:
- 1 whole egg
- 1/4 cup water
To cook the pineapple filling:
- In a stockpot, cook the pineapple and sugar together over low heat. Add the pineapple juice from the can, a little at a time to prevent mixture burning or sticking to the bottom.Pour the lemon juice. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes.Add the cornstarch to thicken once pineapple color starts to become a darker gold. Continue stirring till mixture thickens. This process takes about 1 hour.Cook over very low fire. Do not leave the filling unattended or it may burn. When filling is golden in color and thick, turn off heat and remove from the stove-top. Allow the filling to cool on the counter till it is room temperature. Store in a covered container and keep refrigerated at least overnight. This helps the filling firm up.
To make the pastry dough:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, powdered sugar, cornstarch and butter. Use a pastry blender or 2 butter knives to mix till it looks coarse and is the size of peas. (Note: If in a rush, use a food processor to blend).Add the chilled eggs to the pastry. Continue blending till dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.Shape the dough into round discs. Cover in plastic wrap all around. Refrigerate the dough overnight.
To assemble the pineapple tarts:
- Roll out the dough on a dry, floured surface.Using a round cookie cutter, about 2-inches in diameter, cut the dough into circles. Cut an even number of circles so you have pairs to make the tarts.Fill the center of a circle with about 2 teaspoons of the pineapple filling. Brush the sides of the dough with egg wash. Place another dough circle on top of the filled one. Seal the edges with your thumb or a fork by pressing the 2 doughs together. Continue the same process for all the other pieces.
To bake the pineapple tarts:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F degrees.Place the pineapple tarts on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Leave 1-2 inches space between the tarts. Do not overlap them.Brush the tops with egg wash.Bake at 350 F for 12 to 15 minutes.Then, brush the tops again with the remaining egg wash. Bake for 5 minutes more till the top is golden brown.Remove tarts from the oven. Cool on baking racks.Serve warm with tea and other Chinese Lunar New Year food and treats.
Nutrition Notes: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking or baking methods and brands of ingredients used.
Did you love this recipe? I have more Philippine dessert recipes in my popular cookbook How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks.
If you need Filipino Instant Pot recipes, find more in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot. Buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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