Nyonya Pineapple Tarts

4.61 stars

Traditional pineapple tarts with flaky, crispy pastry that melts in the mouth and topped with delicious pineapple jam are sold abundantly during the festive seasons, especially Chinese New Year. In Malacca where these tarts are extremely popular, homemade pineapple jam is used.

Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 240 mins


Tat Nenas, Nastar cookies, 娘惹黄梨挞

Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian, Bruneian

Nutrition per Serving

66 kcal
11 g
2 g
1 g

Homemade traditional pineapple tarts are the best treats during Chinese New Year. They are made into small bite-sized pastries filled with homemade pineapple jam. Alternatively, another variant has the pineapple jam wrapped by the pastry itself. The best pineapple tart should have a lightly dense dough to hold the pineapple jam and yet falls apart to melt in the mouth. Besides, the sweetness of the tart should come from the pineapple jam.

How did pineapple tarts become so popular?

History of pineapple tarts

Malacca was under the colony of Portuguese for 130 years. When the Portuguese left, their influence were seen in the architecture, culture and food in Malacca. Moreover, tarts are native to Portugal. The typical technique of rubbing butter into the flour to make the dough flaky is exactly the way tarts are made in Portugal. Since pineapples were in abundance, the locals used them to make pineapple tarts.

Pineapples for Chinese New Year

The term ‘ong lai’ in Hokkien (one of the Chinese dialects) means pineapple but at the same time it also sounds very similar to ‘prosperity/fortune comes’. This is why pineapple tarts are popular during Chinese New Year to either welcome guests or as a gift to friends and relatives.

Using butter instead of margarine

Traditionally, Nyonya/Peranakan pineapple tarts use margarine to make the dough dense. This gives the crunchy effect instead of being crumbly. Besides that, the use of margarine gives these cookies a longer shelf life compared to when using butter. Therefore, many traditional cookies or snacks use margarine instead. Having said that, you may use butter, if that is your preference. However, do note that the dough would be more crumbly. As salt is added to the dough, use unsalted butter or omit salt from the recipe if you prefer to use salted butter.

What causes pineapple tarts to be flaky?

The act of rubbing margarine or butter into flour makes the dough flaky. This method leaves little lumps of margarine or butter in the dough. When these little lumps melt during the baking process, the dough will incorporate "air" in its structure which then makes it flaky. Therefore, it is important not to over knead the dough or the pastry would end up being hard.

Making pineapple jam in advance

When preparing to make these tarts, it is advisable to cook the pineapple jam at least one night before. It can be kept refrigerated for up to a week or kept frozen for up to 6 months. Before using frozen pineapple jam, thaw it first.

Storage of pineapple tarts to prevent mould

Pineapple tarts turning mouldy even when stored in air-tight containers is due to the presence of too much moisture. Store pineapple tarts which are cooled to room temperature in an air-tight container away from the sunlight. They can be kept for up to 3 months. Otherwise, keep them refrigerated for up to 6 months.

Canned pineapples

In countries where pineapples aren't native, it may be best to use canned pineapples. The best choice would be those which are not canned in sugared water. For this recipe, I'd recommend using 3 cans of pineapples as the core is usually removed. You may end up with extra pineapple jam but it would be better than having lack of it. Do reduce the amount of sugar accordingly as most canned pineapples are already sweetened.

You may had noticed in the video that there is too much pineapple jam on the tarts for your liking. You can lessen the amount of pineapple jam as per your preference. If you do so, remember to double the amount of ingredients for the dough so that you would not end up with excessive pineapple jam. The process of making these pineapple tarts is undeniably time consuming but once you are done, you will agree that it is well worth the effort. Trust me, you will be beaming with pride too!

This recipe yields about 40 pieces of pineapple tarts or about 80 pieces if you double the amount of ingredients for the dough.


cinnamon stick(s)
60 g
rock sugar
200 g
all-purpose flour
1⁄2 tbsp
100 g
1⁄4 tsp

Steps to Prepare

Nyonya Pineapple Tarts Step 1

Step 1 of 6

    • 2 pineapple(s)

Cut and blend pineapples. Discard pineapple juice using a sieve to shorten jam cooking time. Otherwise, you can cook the jam along with the juice for a more intense flavour.

Nyonya Pineapple Tarts Step 2

Step 2 of 6

    • 1 cinnamon stick(s)
    • 60 g rock sugar
    • 1 clove(s)

Cook pineapple at medium-low heat along with cinnamon stick and clove for at least 25 minutes or until pineapple puree becomes drier. Add rock sugar. Continue cooking at low heat to a jam-like consistency and is golden brown in colour. Remove cinnamon stick and clove. Leave aside to cool.

Nyonya Pineapple Tarts Step 3

Step 3 of 6

    • 200 g all-purpose flour
    • 1 egg(s)
    • 1⁄2 tbsp water
    • 100 g margarine
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt

In a clean bowl, rub margarine into flour. Then, add egg, salt and water.

Nyonya Pineapple Tarts Step 4

Step 4 of 6

Mix all ingredients evenly to create a dough. Avoid over kneading to prevent it from getting hard. Leave the dough to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Nyonya Pineapple Tarts Step 5

Step 5 of 6

Flatten dough and press into shapes using a pineapple tart mould or a cookie cutter. Place pineapple jam on the dough. Brush egg wash (a mixture of 1 egg and 1 tsp of water) on the surface of the tarts.

Nyonya Pineapple Tarts Step 6

Step 6 of 6

Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 20 minutes.

Published: January 24, 2016

11 Discussions

a year ago


Hi, this recipe, the pineapple jam & dough can make ard total 40 pineapple tart?

a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Ca. 40 pineapple tarts.

a year ago


If I want to do 3x this recipe, can I make the dough together at once or is better to do in small batch?

a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

You can multiply the amount to make the dough at once. Enjoy!

a year ago


Hi, I tried to used the pineapple tart mould but my dough keep sticking to the mould. How to solve this? Help!!!

a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Is the dough too sticky/wet? Otherwise, sprinkling some flour onto the surface of the mould might help.

10 months ago


Hi, can I know what type of flour is used?

10 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

All purpose wheat flour which are meant for cookies

10 months ago


Do you bake using top and bottom heat

7 months ago

Johanna Blomqvist

We don't have rock sugar in my country, can I use normal white sugar? If using normal granulated sugar, do I still use 60g or should it be less?

5 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Sorry, I missed this comment. Begin using 40g of sugar. Add more if the jam isn't sweet enough. The need to have additional sugar is dependant on the sweetness of the pineapple.

5 months ago


Hi, can I use butter (same as 100g) and can I add some cheese into the dough? If add cheese what is the weight needed?

5 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

We explained substitutes in the section ‘Using butter instead of margarine’ fully. We haven't tried adding cheese to this traditional family recipe. However, in this other pineapple tart recipe, we recommend sprinkling Parmesan cheese before baking instead of adding it to the dough https://www.nyonyacooking.com/recipes/foolproof-pineapple-tarts~ZwaXzdUa

5 months ago

Ayu Fatarina

Hi, Can I prepare the dough the night before and bake it the next morning?

5 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Of course!

5 months ago

Ayu Fatarina

Thank you!

4 months ago


Can I use wheat flour instead of all purpose flour?

4 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Yes, all purpose flour is also wheat flour.

4 months ago


Thank you :)

25 days ago

Iveender Dhillon

How do we preserve the flaky-ness of the pineapple tarts? I have followed this recipe diligently and my tarts came out amazing 😉, I then stored it in an air tight container. When I ate it the next day, the cookies wasn’t as flaky as the day it was being made. Can you suggest how do we keep the cookies fresh and flaky?

23 days ago


Hii Iveender! If stored after cooling down, the texture usually won't change much. My aunt prefers to keep them in the fridge. Maybe you can try that?

5 days ago

Iveender Dhillon

I will surely. Thank you for your reply because the jam tarts was really very good!

8 days ago


Hi Grace, may I know which type of margarine you used for this recipe? Does margarine come with salt or unsalt type? I have tried this recipe with unsalt butter before. This time I would like to try with margarine.

7 days ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Hi Eileen, it's unsalted margarine. We can't wait to see the result on your food snap gallery.

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