Learn how to make melt-in-the-mouth Chinese New Year Enclosed Pineapple Tarts filled with homemade Pineapple Jam. All the tips you need to know. Be sure to watch the video too!
Enclosed pineapple tarts or what are often called Kue Nenas/ Kue Nastar in Indonesian language is one of the classic popular Chinese New Year cookies in Indonesia. Lumer means melt in the mouth in Bahasa. So, yep, these are seriously good melt-in-the-mouth pineapple tarts you don’t want to miss! The pineapple filling is wrapped inside the buttery pastry dough and that’s why many refer to it as enclosed pineapple tarts.
Many of the food or decoration used in Chinese New Year (CNY) represents auspicious meaning like prosperity/wealth, good luck, abundance, good fortune, etc. Pineapple (feng li) is one of the food items that I know my parents usually have around during CNY celebration. It represents good fortune. In Hokkian (Fu Jian) language pineapple is called Ong Lai. Ong roughly means prosperity/good fortune and Lai means come. Put the two together it means prosperity/good fortune coming your way 😉
One of the things that makes me really homesick is Chinese New Year. It’s the time of the year when family members gather and reunite..far and near. I love the atmosphere during this time of the year. The decoration, the songs, and everywhere you go, you see people selling food and cookies to greet one of the most important celebrations in the Chinese culture. The kids look forward to the “ang bao” (red pocket filled with money) 🙂
I remember making huge batches of these cookies at my aunt’s house while I was young a few weeks before Chinese New Year approached. It was my favorite thing to do. My aunt is a great baker and I wish I have just a quarter of her baking skill. These pineapple cookies aren’t too complicated to make (I did it!). The Selai Nenas Nastar / Pineapple Jam is not too complicated to make either, just requires some time to cook into a thick consistency. The rest of the work is pretty basic. I recommend making the pineapple compote a day or few days before and you can keep it in the refrigerator and used it when you are ready to make the cookies.
These Kue Nastar are seriously melt-in-the-mouth soft! I’m super happy with this recipe after few rounds of tweaking. If you give this recipe a try, I believe you will love it too.
IMPORTANT TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. MAKE THE PINEAPPLE JAM FEW DAYS BEFORE
The majority of the work is really in making the selai nenas. It’s not hard, but it takes time to cook it to a thick consistency suitable for pineapple tarts. Check out the pineapple jam video and recipe
2. USE GOOD QUALITY BUTTER
A good quality butter will definitely shine through
3. CHILL THE DOUGH
Please do not skip this step as chilling the dough for at least 30 minutes makes it easier to shape and roll
4. FREEZE THE SHAPED TARTS
I can’t stress the importance of this. If you do not freeze the shaped tarts, they will expand to the side and that’s the last thing we want. Freeze it for 1 hour before baking
5. EGG WASH FOR THAT GLOSS
The mixture of egg wash, milk, and honey gives the tarts that glossy shine
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
THE DOUGH IS HARD TO WORK WITH
Remember to chill the dough prior to shape them. We are working with butter and as they come into contact with our warm hands it will be sticky and difficult to work with
WHY PINEAPPLE TART SPREADS AND LOSE ITS SHAPE AFTER BAKING
If you do not chill/freeze the shaped tarts, they will most certainly spread to the side when you bake them. They need to go straight from freezer to the oven. This helps to keep the tarts tall instead of expanding to the side
PINEAPPLE TARTS ARE NOT SOFT (LUMER)
Using a cake flour and cornstarch mixture really contributes to the softness compared to when you use regular all-purpose flour
HOW TO STORE PINEAPPLE TARTS/KUE NASTAR
Keep them in an air-tight container for up to 2-3 weeks at room temperature. For longer storage, keep them in the fridge for up to 2 months.
DID YOU MAKE THIS ENCLOSED PINEAPPLE TARTS RECIPE?
I love it when you guys snap a photo and tag to show me what you’ve made 🙂 Simply tag me @WhatToCookToday #WhatToCookToday on Instagram and I’ll be sure to stop by and take a peek for real!
Melt-in-the-mouth Pineapple Tarts (Kue Nastar)
- 100 gr Wijsman butter softened, or any high-quality canned butter
- 30 gr icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg yolk beaten
- ½ tsp honey
- ½ tsp water
- Roll the pineapple jam into about 35 small balls. Cover and chill in refrigerator
- Prepare the egg wash by mixing everything together in a bowl. Make sure it's smooth and no lumps
Prepare the dough:
- Mix dry ingredients together and set aside. Place the butter and egg yolk at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Cutting the butter into smaller pieces also help to speed up the process. This may not take that long if it's warm where you are. I live in a very cold place during this time of the year. The butter will soften, but make sure it's not melty
- Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir until just until mix with a rubber spatula. There is no need to use a mixer. Overworking the butter too much will make your tarts too crumbly after you bake them. Add egg yolk one at a time (if you double the recipe) and then just mix until creamy. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula. The dough seems dry and doesn't seem to come together at this point, that's okay. Use clean hands to mix until the dough come together into a ball. It may be sticky at first. You can dust your hands with a bit of flour but don't add more flour to the dough. Wrap the dough up and refrigerate for about 30 minutes
Shape the tarts:
- Divide the dough into 35 equal pieces. Roll them into round balls and flatten into about 4-inch circle. Place 1 pineapple filling in the middle, gather the edge and pinch to seal. Place the seam side down on a baking sheets lined with parchment paper
Chill the shaped tarts:
- Chill the shaped tarts in the freezer for 1 hour or if you do this the day before, cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight
- Preheat the oven at 300 F (150 C) 15 minutes before you plan to bake. This is fora conventional oven setting. If you have a convection oven (top and bottom heat, no fan), lower the temperature by 20 degrees. Bake the tarts for 20 minutes. They will still appear soft and pale. Remove from the oven and brush the egg wash all around the tarts. (Edited): Increase oven temperature to 350 F (180 C) and bake them again for another 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove and let them sit on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to let them cool down completely
- Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2-3 weeks or 2 months in the refrigerator
- These tarts freeze very well too. I have made them in advance and freeze them and simply thaw at room temperature just before serving and they are as good as new
Video (appear as pop-up)
Measure 125 gr of all-purpose flour and then take out 2 tablespoons of it and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Simple as that