Thursday, January 23, 2014

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pineapple Tarts (黄梨酥挞)

Pineapple tarts is a must-have amongst many households during Chinese New Year, especially in Singapore. Baking pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year has become yearly affair ever since I picked up baking.

Baking pineapple tarts is a very laborious affair and it needs alot of patience and time. But I just couldn't help it. Shop-bought ones are either no good, or over-priced.Trust-worthy quality pineapple tarts are not easy to find. I might as well bake it then.

Max had been living with shop-bought pineapple tarts for the past 29 years. He has no complaint and he eat what his mom fed him. But after I started baking, I'm surprised to hear from him how precise he wants his pineapple tart to taste! He wanted buttery and melt-in-the-mouth pastry with some tang on the pineapple jam. For me, my personal requirement is flaky and NO to milky taste. So, I work based on that.

I did googled some recipes and flip some recipe books. I skipped those that uses milk or milk powder. I skipped those that ask for margarine or shortening. I tried baking using 3 to 4 recipes for the past three years. And I finally convinced and settled down with The Little Teochew's recipe, because I believe simplicity could deliver the best.

I baked 3 batches of pineapple tart last year. Used Lurpak and President butter for the first two batches. It was good. But my MIL complaint that the buttery taste is not what she's looking for. She said "That's not local taste!"

.... She makes my face turned green.

I had a sleepless night, thinking what she meant by local taste. And for the 3rd batch, I used SCS butter, as this is widely used especially for Chinese New Year baking. And the result, she says "This is local taste lah!".... I guessed it right! This is the buttery taste that she's looking for!

..... Duh!!! I keep calm and continue my baking. Hahaha...

This year, I used SCS for my pineapple tarts as well. And for the pineapple jam, I got myself some Morris pineapple, followed Wendy's home-made pineapple jam recipe and cook up a big batch from scratch.

Ingredients (for Pineapple Jam)
(Source : Wendyinkk)

  • 2 large Morris Pineapple
  • 400g Sugar
  • 1 small stick of Cinnamon
  • some lemon juice (optional, if you prefer more sourish taste)

Method (for Pineapple Jam)

  1. Peel the pineapple, cleaned, cut into large chunk, included the core. 
  2. Put half the pineapple chunks into a blender, add 1/3 water and blitz away. Pour 80% of the blended pineapple into a large pan or wok that has large evaporation surface. 
  3. With the remaining blended pineapple in the blender, add the rest of the pineapple chunks into the blender and blitz away. Always leave some blended liquid on the blender, so that you don't have to add water for the next blending process. 
  4. Cook pineapple paste with the cinnamon stick under medium heat until it turned pasty, like oatmeal kind of thickness. Stir it occasionally. 
  5. Add sugar and stir. The pineapple paste will turn watery when sugars are added. Stir once a while. 
  6. Increase the heat to high. Don’t stir and let the base take on some color. It will caramelize the jam. Stir once a while to check on the color. Stop when it almost reaches your preferred color.  Do take note that some pans will continue to caramelize even when the heat is off.
  7. Do take note that the jam will thicken further upon cooling. It is better to undercook the jam rather than overcook it. You can cool the jam and see the texture. If it is too wet, you can always cook it again to achieve dry texture.
  8. Once jam is kept in the fridge for a day, pre-roll pineapple jam into balls the night before your baking day. 
Note : You can prepare this way ahead. I did mine more than a week beforehand. Air-tight sealed and keep it well in the fridge. It's absolutely fine with. 

Ingredients (for Pastry)
(Source : The Little Teochew, with modification)

  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 50g Corn Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Salt
  • 280g Cold, Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes. 
  • 3 Egg Yolks, beaten
  • 3 tbsp Ice-Cold Water
  • 6 tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • For the pastry glaze, mix 1 Egg Yolk + 1 tbsp Water. 

Note : If you have lard at home, do add some. I did two batches of pastry. One using 280g Butter (follow recipe) for giveaway purpose. While the other batch that I want to keep it for own consumption, I used 250g butter + 30g lard oil. The result is seriously awesome! So, I'd highly encourage you guys to be more courageous and go ahead to do some experiment to find the right Oomph! taste for yourself :)

Method (for Pastry)

  1. Cut butter into small cubes. Put it back to the fridge. Take the butter cubes out when you are ready to use it. 
  2. Sift flour, icing sugar and salt together. Mix well. I keep mine in the fridge to keep my flour cold. The weather in Singapore is hot. I can't help it. 
  3. Using the pointed ends of a fork, rub the cubed cold butter into the flour until it looks like fine bread crumbs. If necessary, use fingertips to continue rubbing lightly on the bigger pieces of butter into finer pieces. 
  4. Beat together egg yolks, cold water and vanilla extract (and lard oil if you are using it). Add it into the butter flour mixture. Using finger tips, gently coax all the crumbs into one large dough ball. Do not knead the dough. As long as the crumbs comes together, you should stop working. 
  5. Divide dough into two balls. Wrap the dough using clingwrap, chill in the fridge for 10mins.
Note : The reason for dividing the dough into two balls is because the dough is very buttery and oily. It would be ideal to use a smaller portion at a time and keep the rest covered in the fridge, otherwise, the dough will ooze oil. 

Method (Baking)
  1. Take one dough ball out of the fridge, roll out to desired thickness. Cut out dough using tart cutter. Arrange neatly onto baking tray, with at least 1.5cm apart. 
  2. Glaze the tart shells (the entire tart pastry surface, not just the rims). Bake it at 175 oC for 5mins. 
  3. Take the tart shells out of the oven, glaze the tart shells one more time (but just the rims for this time). Place pre-rolled pineapple jam balls onto the centre of each tart shells.
  4. Bake the pineapple tart for another 15mins, or until the tart pastry looked golden brown. 

My butter is cold, and my flour is cold too. The task here is to coat the butter crumbs in flour, while doing your best to prevent the butter from melting. If your kitchen is air-conditioned, that would be the best! You might find it messy if you are doing this for the first time. But once you have the hang of it, it will be fine.

 I have pastry cutter to do the work, so, it is much easier compared to fork.

If you made shortbread pastry before, you will know how this should go about. Handling the dough is the key. If you overworked the dough, you will ruin everything. You have to be gentle to the dough, so as to achieve wonderful buttery, flaky texture.

.... my camera sucks. It doesn't bring out the color of the buttery dough. Sigh!

Okay. Move on.

You can choose not to glaze the tart. But I'd highly recommend you to do that. Because glazing the tart will makes the tart sturdier during baking. And glazing gives you a nicer orange-y festive looking tart too. Btw, Max says tarts without glaze looked like under-cooked tart. Hahaha... He and his very own logic.

Accomplishment! Alot of work, it sucks my energy dry. But definitely worth it.

Always remember that good food either comes with a price tag or it takes patience and effort to make it right. You can choose to buy shop-bought pineapple jam if you are not picky about it. It definitely save you alot of work. But if you are particular with that, like me, be prepared to do it from scratch. Cooking the pineapple jam can be quite strenuous.

So, if you wanna make some good pineapple tarts, you don't expect it to be easy. That's the simple rule. And no, my tart doesn't look like that on my 1st attempt 3 years back. Practice makes perfect. I need more of that for sure.

Will I make it again? Yes! This is indeed melt-in-your-mouth pastry and it taste really awesome!

I hope you like it! And I have to thank to the fellow ladies who shared the recipe and tips :)


  1. Noticed that you baked at higher temperature than the original recipe. My tarts were not fully baked thru at the original 160C even after 23 multiwall. Were yours fully baked using the higher temperature? Did you glaze the pastry after they have cooked or while stI'll hot right out of oven?

    1. Hi Anonymous, I'd prefer my tart to look more golden brown. That's why I baked at a higher temperature. Recipe is for reference. Every oven works differently. I bake using 175 degree, but if u don't understand your oven well and you follow accordingly, your tart might go over-baked or under-baked.

      I glaze the pastry before i sent them to the oven. I bake it for 5mins. I take it out of the oven and glaze it for the second time, and sent it into the oven again. You can read the steps again. Happy Baking! :)

    2. Hi Annie I always hv problem to keep the tart layer by layer in the container. Costhe tart will stick together..Pl help me. Can i keep the tart in the fridge once it is put fr oven?Thanks

  2. Hi Alice, I am a pineapple tart lover and always look out for the right recipe. I have bookmarked yours and will definitely give it a try. I have not used lard oil for the tarts before. Btw where did u get the 2 layer tarts trays for cooling your cookies.?

    1. Hi Cecilia, i got it from ToTT Store in Singapore.

  3. What is the weight of each jam? Tx

  4. Very nice, you should make a video tutorial on this.

  5. Hi Annie, I tried out your recipe, very tasty but the presentation is not like yours. Why does the dough when cut with the pastry cutter,shrink when baking? I would like to perfect this recipe, any help would be very appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Hi Sakinah, the only possibility I could think of is that you've probably overworked your dough. Do try again! :)

  6. Hi. I tried this today. Awesome! This is definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Hi I tried thiss was awesome! this is definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thx Annie for the recipe. Just a quick question, how many tarts can i make following the receipt? thanks a lot.

    1. This question is difficult. I didn't even count them! Hahaha

  9. Hi Annie, love your recipe! However I always have this small problem where the top of my pineapple jam turned too hard from the baking. In order to prevent that, I've been baking at lower heat for longer timing, but its still not ideal.

    May I ask if you use top heat, bottom heat, or both? And where do you position your tray? Or is it an oven problem? I'm thinking of changing to a better oven recently

    1. Hi, i had try on Saturday 1st trial same like u. 2nd trial for e bal I try put in pinnapple after 2 times bush so 3rd time i put and bake awhile more. Come out yummy.... not hard at all. U can try this out.

    2. Pls use top and bottom heat. Place the tart at the center rack.

  10. Hi, I followed your recipe diligently and I must say the pineapple filling was fantastic.. It is with regrets I must say that the pastry recipe does not match up to the standard "melt-in-your-mouth".. The steps for the pastry are meant for those danish puff rather than the traditional chinese crumb biscuit for pineapple tart..

    1. Hi Tina, thanks for trying out. Different people may have different expeexpectations in standard. Maybe my recipe is not perfect. But if you have better recipe, can you share with me too? :)

  11. Hi Annie. I tried your recipe and made some tarts but I found that the flavour was ok after just baked but develops more buttery as the days keep. I wonder is it the same for you? I used a salt grinder to make the fine salt but found 1/2 tsp maybe too light.

    1. Yup. Same like your's. It will develop more buttery as the days keep.

  12. Tried the recipe today...yummy yummy yummy ..Thank you for sharing

  13. it i have to add salt if i use salted butter?and is it i can use salted butter?

    1. If you use salted butter, you don't have to add salt on the recipe anymore.

  14. Hi Annie,

    Where did u get your lard oil from ?


    1. Buy fresh pork fats, render it at home to get lard oil

  15. Hi Annie I have problem when keeping the tart in the container layer by layer. How to prevent the tart from sticking together? W/o a baking paper in between?

    1. Use doily paper on each layer stacked :)

  16. Just completed baking my first batch of pineapple tarts using your receipe for the pastry. I used ready made pineapple jam from Phoon Huat. I used Olive Oil magarine as my children are lactose intolerant. They all said these tarts are yummy. The biscuit was not hard and just crumbled in my mouth, not so much as melt. But that is fine for me, not so messy. Thanks for sharing your receipe.

  17. Hi Annie, I am using Elba gas oven. Should I use the bottom or top fire?
    Do I need to preheat the oven first? You did not mention it in your recipe.

    1. Hi Kathryn, preheat oven is a must. Preheat it at least 20mins, top and bottom heat. Happy baking!

  18. Hi Annie, may I know the sequence if lard oil was to be used, when should I put in the lard oil. Is it after the flour and butter turn into bread crumbs?

  19. Hi Annie, can i know the sequence if lard or was used? Is it after the butter and flour turn to bread crumbs?


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