Of all the Chinese New Year cookies, Pineapple tarts would probably be the most popular. Who can resist these delicious morsels, with the flaky and buttery pastry and the sweet but tangy pineapple jam? Besides, the pronunciation of pineapple in Hokkien, “Ong Lai”, means “Prosperity Comes”, and the golden hue represents, well, gold or money. All very positive. Maybe except for your weight. Errr. That’s prosperous too anyway.
I had wanted to make my own for the past few years but was not motivated enough (read: lazy). Fortunately, my mum has been in town and we’ve decided to spend a couple of days baking. And hence this is her recipe.
For the purpose of this blog I’ve included the recipe for the jam but mum has actually bought a huge bag of pineapple jam made by a bakery in KL. Only RM7 for like a 3-4kg bag (enough for easily over 400 tarts). What a bargain right? Apparently they sell it cheap for Chinese New Year. So do check your nearest bakery for these. Could save a lot of time. The most important ingredient is the butter. Use the best brand you can find as it really makes a huge difference to the taste.
Makes about 80 small tarts
4 cans of sliced pineapples (about 2kg), or 2 large pineapples
150g sugar, or to taste.
2 teaspoon cornstarch or corn flour (mixed with 2 teaspoon water)
Process the pineapple til fine, then strain until dry
Simmer in a wok toll the juice has dry up. Add sugar and cook until darkened and sticky, stirring constantly.
Add in the cornstarch (corn flour) to thicken the filling. Let it cool in the fridge.
250g butter (We used Lurpak, Danish Butter)
360g flour sifted
one whole egg, beated
40g milk powder
1 egg yolk for egg wash
Mix the sugar and butter in a bowl until creamy, then add the egg to mix well.
Sift the flour and milk powder into the bowl and start working the mixture lightly until it all comes together, adding more flour as needed. The dough needs to be pliable enough to roll with your hand but not oily. Make sure you don’t overwork it too so it will be crumbly. Set aside.
Meanwhile, start rolling the pineapple jam into an olive shape (about half a teaspoon amount each).
Divide the dough as accordingly, enough to coat the filling. Works out to be about 1.5inch diameter rounds. Gently flatten the dough and place the filling in the middle then work the dough to cover. Roll it to desirable shape. You can make patterns with butter knife.
Arrange on parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and bake in 175 degree Celsius oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Store in airtight container.
So what is your favourite Chinese New Year Cookies? Another one I love is Kueh Momo, a Sarawak version of Kueh Makmur or Kuih Arab. Mum brought me some of these and I finished them in no time so I don’t dare to bake any. Too dangerous. Heh.