Kue Nastar (Pineapple Tarts) – Melt-in-the-mouth Pineapple Tarts filled with homemade Pineapple Jam is one of the popular Chinese New Year cookies.
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 celebration in the Chinese culture. The kids look forward to the “ang bao” (red pocket filled with money) 🙂
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) languange pineapple is called Ong Lai. Ong roughly means prosperity/good fortune and Lai means come. Put the two together it means prosperity/good fortuen coming your way 😉
Pineapple cookies or what are often called Kue Nenas/ Kue Nastar in Indonesian language is one of the classic popular Chinese New Year cookies at my hometown, Medan, Indonesia. You will see them everywhere during Chinese New Year.
I remember making huge batches of these cookies at my aunt’s house while I was young 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 love the addition of cloves to the cookies. It’s not overwhelming when you bite into it. Instead, it compliments the tart really well!
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Recipe for Kue Nastar is adapted from here
Kue Nastar Lumer (Melt-in-the-mouth Pineapple Tarts)
- 1 egg yolk beaten
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp water
- 1/2 tsp cooking oil
Can be prepared one day ahead:
- Roll the pineapple jam into about 35 small balls. Cover and chill in refrigerator
- Prepare the egg wash, cover and place in refrigerator
- Place all-purpose flour, milk powder, and cheese in a bowl. Stir to mix and set aside
Making the tarts:
- Place the butter at room temperature for about 30 minutes and it will soften. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream just until mix. There's no need to cream until it is light and airy. Add egg yolk one by one and then just cream until mix. Turn off the mixer. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix with 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. Wrap it up and refrigerate for about 30 minutes
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into about 35 equal size balls, depends on how big you want them. I suggest not too big as they will expand a bit when you bake. Flatten individual ball and fill about 1 tsp of the compote into the middle of the dough and wrap them around
- You can shape them however you want them. I made two different styles here, oval shape and round balls and I inserted a whole clove on top of each of the tarts. Make sure to give about 2-inches of space in between tarts. Place the shaped tarts back into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. It helps to maintain the shape better. Preheat the oven to 300 F while waiting for the dough to chill. Place the rack 3rd from the top
- 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. Bake them again for another 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove and let them sit on the baking sheet for about 1 minute then transfer to cooling rack to let them cool down completely. They can be stored in an air-tight container for up to one month