Nyonya Pineapple Tarts

4.59 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


2 pineapple(s)
1 cinnamon stick(s)
60 g rock sugar
1 clove(s)
200 g flour
1 egg(s)
1⁄2 tbsp water
100 g margarine
1⁄4 tsp salt

Nutrition per Serving

66 kcal
11 g
2 g
1 g

Community Food Snaps

I only had a heart shaped cookie cutter haha... but I managed to shaped the pineapple jam in a heart too, just that it was more time consuming! It turned out great!
First time trying to bake them. I didn’t have cookie cutters and had to use a fork to shape them. But I’m happy with the taste. Thank you for sharing the recipe. ❤️🍍
Dough wasnt flavourful with margarine. What's your brand pls? No cookie cutter so had to improvise & create my own patterns instead.
Just love this "open pineapple tart" or famously called "Nyonya pineapple tarts" in Melaka, Malaysia.
The pineapple jam turned out super tasty with its natural sweetness and fragrance, yet for the dough part I think I over-knead it hehe


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 exposed on 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.

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.

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 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

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