First posted in Jan 2009, updated with new recipe & photos in Jan 2014.
With Chinese New Year (CNY) slightly less than a month away (19 Feb 2015), have you started your CNY baking? To me, pineapple tarts (黄梨酥) are the most representative snack of the festive CNY season, so if I can only bake one item, that will definitely be pineapple tarts. They are so popular because the pineapple, pronounced as “ong lai” in dialect, sound as auspicious as they are delicious. They also have a golden finish which signifies wealth and prosperity. I think they look like a very pretty and cheerful sunflower. This is a recipe for open-faced pineapple tarts.
I wasn’t satisfied with the old recipe put up in 2009, and I am glad to update my blog in 2015 with a much improved and better-tasting pineapple tart recipe, complete with practical tips and detailed step-by-step photos (thanks to the SO for taking them). We tried and tweaked several recipes before arriving at this version. This is an easy recipe which does not require any mixer. The tart pastry is crumbly and buttery.
I used store-bought pineapple tart jam from Kwong Cheong Thye (not so sweet). You can also buy them from Phoon Huat (sweeter than Kwong Cheong Thye) or the local supermarkets. I hope that in the near future, I can find the energy to make my own pineapple tart jam from scratch (used to make them as a kid and it was such hard work to grate the pineapples).
Step-by-Step Photos (Pineapple Tarts)
Note: Measurements are at the Printable Recipe
In a large bowl, sift in flour, corn flour and salt.
Add cold, cubed butter.
Rub the butter (fats) into the flour using your fingertips.
Do so until they resemble coarse bread crumbs as shown.
Add egg yolk, icing sugar and cold water.
Gently knead the dough until it comes together. Do not overknead. As seen from the photo, the dough is not completely smooth and there are specks of butter. That is all right.
Tip: Add a bit more flour if the dough is sticky. Add a bit of cold water (1/2 tbsp at a time) if the dough is too dry.
Divide the dough into four small portions, wrapped in cling film and refrigerated for 30 minutes for the dough to firm up slightly, so that it is easier to roll and work with later.
Tip: Work on a small portion of dough each time, so that they are always cold and easier to handle.
While waiting for the dough to chill, weigh and measure pineapple tart jam to 6 grams balls.
Prepare work surface and dust it with flour.
Take out one portion of dough from the fridge. Use small amount of flour, if required, and knead it slightly such that it is no longer sticky yet not dry.
This is the correct texture of the pastry dough. You should be able to imprint easily as shown.
Coat rolling pin with flour. Using quick and short strokes, roll the dough to 7mm thickness.
Use pineapple tart mould (cookie cutter) to cut out the shape of the tart.
Tip: Twist it around a bit to get a defined and precise cut.
Dust inner mould with liberal amounts of flour.
Fit inner mould into tart cutter and press firmly to get the flower design.
Gently take out the pastry tart from the mould. The petal design should be clearly imprinted.
Brush the tart shells with egg wash.
Arrange the egg washed tart shells on a baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes.
Take out the tray, press pineapple jam ball into cavity of each partially baked tart shell. Continue baking for 5 minutes.
Tip: The reason for baking the tart shell first before adding the jam, is so that the jam do not look dried-out after baking. You can bake the pineapple tart with jam (one step), for 15 minutes, if preferred.
The beautifully baked pineapple tarts (close-up).
When they are cooled, store the tarts in air-tight containers.