A recipe for Kuih Tart (Pineapple Tarts)! These Malaysian and Singapore-style tarts have a flaky, buttery base with a spiced homemade pineapple jam center.
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Pineapple Tarts are a delicious treat popular during Lunar New Year throughout Southeast Asia. A symbol of prosperity, they can be shaped in a variety of designs and sizes from the square/rectangular Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes to the round Indonesian Kue Nastar and the rolled Nastar Gulung.
These open-faced Kuih Tart (Kueh Tart) come from Malaysia and Singapore. The cookies have a thin scalloped base with a dollop of pineapple jam in the center.
There are a few steps with creating the homemade pineapple jam and shaping the individual tarts, but the ingredients can be prepared up to a couple of days in advance to minimize the prep during assembly.
Once everything has been prepared and shaped, the Kuih Tart are baked in a 325˚F (163˚C) oven just until set and golden around the edges.
Cool the cookies to room temperature before storing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or two. The texture is even better the day after baking.
Shaping the Kuih Tart
A Pineapple Tart Stamp is helpful to get the notable design in the cookies. It creates scalloped edges and swirls around the tart with a depression in the center for the jam.
If you don’t have a stamp, use a 2 inch (5 centimeter) scalloped round or flower cutter and use your thumb to make a depression in the center of each cookie.
Dust the stamp as needed with flour to keep it from sticking to the dough.
If some of the dough in the center tears when removing the stamp, patch it with additional dough before adding the jam.
You can leave the Kuih Tart with simply the ball of pineapple jam or decorate it a little more with two strips of dough across the jam in the shape of an ‘X.’ I have also seen other designs on top such as small stars or flowers.
Homemade Pineapple Jam
The longest part of this recipe is making the homemade pineapple jam. It is minimal prep, but does require attention and frequent stirring.
Fresh pineapple pieces are pulsed in a blender until smooth, then simmered for a couple of hours with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves until thickened.
If any of the rind makes it into the pineapple pieces, strain the mixture after blending.
Adjust the sugar in the pineapple jam as desired. You may need to add more or less based on the flavor of the pineapple and personal tastes.
As the pineapple jam thickens, stir often to keep the bottom and sides from burning.
The exact amount of time it takes to cook the jam depends on the moisture content of the pineapple. It is usually around 2 hours for me.
It should be thick and a deeply golden color. To test the thickness, remove a small spoonful and set aside. If it can easily be formed into a ball after cooling for a couple of minutes, the jam is done.
The cinnamon and cloves are optional. Some recipes include them while others don’t.
The pineapple jam can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to a week. I often make it the day before and refrigerate overnight before using.
If making ahead of time, bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes before assembling.
A Few Tips
I kept the dough basic with simply flour, salt, condensed milk, egg yolks, and butter. Some recipes also add vanilla, powdered sugar, milk powder, custard powder, cornstarch, and/or food coloring.
Do not pack in the flour when measuring or you may end up with too much. To measure flour, gently spoon it into the measuring up and level with a knife without pressing down. The most accurate way to measure is by weight.
Mix just until the dough comes together. Don’t overwork or you will lose that light texture.
It will seem crumbly at first, but should become smooth as the butter is incorporated into the flour. If the dough stays crumbly, add a little more condensed milk, another egg yolk, or a little more softened butter.
Chill the dough just enough for it to hold together, about 15 minutes. If the dough is too cold, it will fall apart while rolling into a thin sheet and won’t hold the design from the stamp.
When making the dough ahead of time and refrigerating overnight, bring to room temperature before rolling.
If the dough is too warm to easily handle, place it back in the refrigerator for a few more minutes.
After shaping the tarts, I like to put the filled baking sheet in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This will help the Kuih Tart keep their beautiful designs once set.
Looking for more Malaysian recipes?
- Kaya Toast (Toast with Coconut Jam and Butter)
- Teh Tarik (Malaysian Pulled Tea)
- Roti Canai (Malaysian-Style Paratha Roti)
This recipe was originally posted in February 2015 and updated in January 2024.
Kuih Tart (Pineapple Tarts) Recipe
Kuih Tart (Pineapple Tarts)
- 1.75 pounds (794 grams) fresh, chopped pineapple
- 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 small (2 inch, 5 centimeter) cinnamon stick
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
To make the pineapple jam:
- Place the pineapple pieces in a blender and pulse until completely smooth.
- Pour the pureed pineapple into a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, then after 30 minutes stir in the sugar, cloves, and cinnamon stick.
- Continue to cook, stirring often- especially around the sides and bottom, until the liquid has reduced and the pineapple jam thickens with a golden color, about 2 hours total.
- To check to see if the jam is thick enough, take a small spoonful and place on a plate. After a couple of minutes, if the spoonful can be shaped into a ball without falling apart, the jam is ready.
- Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon stick and cloves.
- Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
- If well chilled and made a day or two ahead of time, bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes before assembling.
To make the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Beat in the condensed milk.
- Add the flour and salt, then pulse or mix in just until a smooth dough comes together.
- Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 15 minutes, until cold but still pliable.
- Preheat oven to 325˚F (163˚C). Line two baking sheets with parchment.
- On a floured surface, roll the rested dough into a sheet about 1/4 inch (6 millimeters) thick. If the dough is too cold to roll easily and hold the shape of the mold, allow to rest for a couple of minutes at room temperature. If too warm to shape, refrigerate for a few more minutes.
- Dust the Kuih Tart mold with flour and cut out as many of the individual tarts as possible, pressing down to form the design around the edges.
- Transfer the tarts to the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) apart.
- Fill the center of each tart with a small spoonful of the pineapple jam.
- If desired, top the jam with a couple of small rope pieces of dough in the shape of an 'X' for an added design.
- Repeat with remaining dough and jam.
- Refrigerate the baking sheets for 15 minutes.
- Bake the Kuih Tart in the preheated oven until set and barely golden around the edges, about 16-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through cooking.
- Allow the tarts to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in airtight container for up to a week.