Pineapple Tarts or Kuih Tart in Malay, are the personification of the festive cookie in Singapore and Malaysia; melt in your mouth shortcrust pastry shells filled with homemade pineapple jam.
What does the Malay word “Kuih” Mean?
There is no direct translation for this Malay word. It refers to a sweet, and can be baked goods, steamed or even fried. But the word will not include cakes, which is kek in Malay. In plural, we say kuih-muih, which also describes a variety of sweet delights.
Pineapple Tarts Recipe with Condensed Milk
My pineapple tarts recipe is my late granny’s, and one I’ve been using since I was about 8! And it has a small amount of condensed milk in it, which is very handy for our eggless pineapple tarts recipe! When I make these for Christmas, Eid and Chinese New Year, they never fail to remind me of her.
Best Melt in Your Mouth Pineapple Tarts Recipe
I’ve tweaked my granny’s recipe ever so slightly, but it still remains true to the one we used as kids, right down to the way I mix everything up. My shortcrust dough is just slightly lighter, almost crumbly, which gives the cookie an almost melt in the mouth texture, the way I like it.
Before we go further, here is an Eid picture of my kids from a few years back, in a bit of a mixed ensemble. The outfits are Indian/Pakistani, and called salwar kameez (trousers and shirt, translated). My boys, during their old rock star hair days, are wearing songkok, the traditional Malay headwear.
These days, the “kuih tart” cutters have grooves that will create a pattern on the cookies, see the image below. However, when we were young, we used to have to make these patterns using miniature crimping tongs.
Imagine making 1 000 little tarts, cutting them, filling them and then crimping them! My older brother used to roll out the dough and cut, my two younger siblings and I filled and my older sister crimped! Of course, as we grew older, our responsibilities changed – oh, those were the days!
A labour of love!
As we got older, our pineapple tarts had a reputation all of their own – my granny would receive orders by the thousands! And it followed us everywhere we went, once someone tasted our tarts, there was no turning back, every year until I left Singapore for the UK, I’d get asked for “a favour”! Paid favours of course, and by the dozens!
Homemade Pineapple Jam
The pineapple tarts are filled with homemade pineapple jam (image below) which is simplicity itself. You need special cutters for these (only available in said countries), ones that cut the pastry while making an indentation for the jam filling at the same time.
Can you make ahead Pineapple Tarts dough?
“Kuih Tart’ dough can be made earlier and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. Leave it at room temperature for 10 minutes before you start working on it.
It can also be frozen, like most other pastry. My advice is to freeze it for up to 3 months, but as you can see from one of the comments below, one of my readers went 4 months with no problems.
The jam can be made up to a week ahead and kept in the fridge.
Making Pineapple Tarts without the specialist cutters
Of course, you can always make these in the shape of ordinary jam cookies, or thumbprint cookies.
In fact, it has been quite fashionable for quite a while to make pineapple tarts into tiny rolls, very popular and traditional in Indonesia. But let’s face it, these are much prettier!
Eggless Pineapple Tarts
Just replace the egg with 70g (1/4 cup) condensed milk. So that will be plus the 1 Tbsp the recipe already calls for. Plus 1/4 tsp baking powder sifted with the flour.
Use a sheet of plastic or cling film to roll out the dough. This will not only stop the dough from sticking to your rolling pin but it will also create a smoother dough. The cling film will lose its sticky feel very quickly as you use it.
Dip the cutter into the flour, shake off excess, then cut, after every 2-3 cuts! Trust me or it’ll stick!
Pineapple Tarts Prep and Cook Times
A note about the times listed here. On the recipe card, I’ve given you the time it will take to make the dough, cut, fill and bake 1 tray of about 24 kuih tart. Let me break down the prep and cook time so we can work out how long it’s going to take us to make the amount here.
Did I mention “labour of love”? 🙂
- Getting ingredients ready: 10 minutes
- Making pastry/dough: 10 minutes
- Chilling: 10 minutes
- Rolling and cutting 1 tray of 24 tarts: 10 minutes
- Filling with jam (1 tray x 24 tarts): 5 minutes
- Cook time of 1 tray of 24 tarts: 15 minutes
Total for 1 tray of 24 tarts: 1 hour
120 tarts = roughly 5 trays. All you need to multiply is the rolling, cutting, filling and baking times.
10 + 5 + 15 = 30 minutes
So total rolling, cutting and baking time for 5 trays = 30 minutes x 5 = 150 minutes
Unless you bake 2 trays at a time, which is what I do, so it’ll be 90 minutes.
Don’t forget the initial prep work though! That was 30 minutes in all (ingredients, making dough & chilling).
So add that to our times above.
Baking 1 tray at a time = Total time will be 3 hours.
Baking 2 trays at a time = Total time will be 2 hours.
Phew! Good thing I enjoy math!
How long can you keep Pineapple Tarts?
Traditional homemade pineapple tarts can last up to 4 weeks, if kept in an airtight container. However, I’ve had them after 5-6 weeks and they were still edible. Personally, I think they are nowhere near as good after 3 weeks, the dough takes on a softer feel.
Eggless pineapple tarts, in my opinion, should be eaten within 2 weeks. As they aren’t as crisp to begin with, they don’t survive as long.
How many calories are in a pineapple tart?
With my recipe here, each pineapple tart has 48 calories. Bear in mind, that the amount of pineapple jam in the tart will affect this figure. Take a look at my recipe card below, and you’ll have a brief nutritional breakdown.
Why do pineapple tarts turn mouldy?
- they weren’t cooked well enough – you need to ensure that the dough has a chance to fully cook through, a light golden beige is the colour we aim for. If unsure, just break a tart in half and taste the tart.
- storage conditions – in an airtight container in a cool dry place is the best. But hey, I grew up in Singapore, which is seriously hot and humid, and we never had a problem! So the first reason above is the most important.
Gosh, that’s probably more information that you were expecting!
Shall we get our aprons on?
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