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Nastar Gulung - Rolled Pineapple Tart
Pineapple tart cookies are Chinese New Year must have cookies. This version incorporate grated cheese into the tart crust, with and easy to handle log shape cookies.
Every year when Chinese New Year approaches, most Chinese families will start with the huge task of preparing mountainous amount of baked goods. The most ubiquitous among these baked goods is definitely pineapple tarts.
There are endless variation of tart crust among individual families. After so many years and testing so many different crust recipes, I consider this my favorite tart curst.
It has plenty of grated parmesan for the cheese lover in me, with minimal to non-existent expansion while baked so they retain their shape really well, and best of all, they simply melt in your mouth.
Pineapple jam filling
My usual game plan is a two-day process. The first day I simply prepare the pineapple jam filling and let them chill in the fridge overnight so I can be extra sure it will be completely chilled when I shape my cookies. Chilled filling makes the shaping process so much easier.
You can use fresh pineapple, or you can use a can of crushed pineapple. Both works well, so if you want to save time and money, the canned pineapple is really not a bad option at all.
One note for those who has never make this before, just be extra sure to make your jam filling extra dry and extra stiff. This is not jam for your morning toast, you need the jam to be extra thick paste. Imagine the thickness where you can shape the jam and it stays like that.
Make a double batch of filling
If you love to really stuff your nastar with pineapple jam filling, feel free to make a double batch of the pineapple filling. This recipe is intended for people who love a more balanced tart:filling ratio.
If you want your tart crust to be as not expanding as possible, I have two tips.
First, stick to using powdered sugar. If you use regular granulated sugar, it will definitely expand in the oven, which is highly non-desirable in a pineapple tart.
Second, be sure to chill your shaped cookies in the fridge while you preheat the oven. This step is crucial to help solidify the butter, which means, your cookies won’t expand in the oven. If you need an extra guarantee, you can even chill your shaped cookies overnight and bake the next day.
Glossy egg wash finish
The icing on the cake, or in this case, the glossy golden crust on each cookie is achieved with an egg wash.
To get that shiny golden color with smooth satiny finish, we need egg wash of egg yolks, and not at the start of the baking. Rather, I usually bake the cookies half way, in this case 20 minutes, then remove from oven, quickly apply egg wash and decorate (if desired), and bake for the remaining time.
This is mainly for insurance. In case my cookies end up expanding a bit, I would rather they finish expanding, and then I apply the egg wash so there is an extra guarantee the top glossy finish will be smooth with no cracks.
If you are super sure that the cookie dough will 100% not expand while baking, or if you don’t mind having minor cracks on the glossy surface, feel free to apple egg wash prior to baking, and just bake your cookies for the entire 35-40 minutes straight.
Nastar Gulung - Rolled Pineapple Tart
- Pineapple jam filling (*)
- 1 can (567 gram/20 oz.) crushed pineapple
- 1 inch cinnamon stick (Indonesian: kayu manis)
- 2 cloves (Indonesian: cengkeh)
- 100 gram (1/2 cup) sugar, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Tart crust
- 2 sticks (225 gram/8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
- 25 gram (3 tablespoon) powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 275 gram (2 1/4 cup) cake flour
- 30 gram (4 tablespoon) cornstarch
- 25 gram (3 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) milk powder
- 50 gram (1/2 cup) grated parmesan/grated cheddar
- Egg wash & decoration
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten for egg wash
- black sesame seeds, decoration (optional)
- Pineapple jam filling
- Boil pineapple, cinnamon, and cloves in a sauce pot over medium heat. Cook until quite dry and there is no standing liquid visible in the pot.
- Add sugar and salt. Stir, cook until really dry, but make sure there are no burnt bits. Set aside to cool completely in the fridge.
- Tart crust
- Cream together unsalted butter, powdered sugar, and salt. Add in egg yolk, and beat until well mixed.
- Sift together cake flour, cornstarch, and milk powder. Add this into the butter mixture and stir until well mixed.
- Add in the grated parmesan/cheddar, mix well into a workable cookie dough.
- Shaping ad baking the cookies
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 5 portions. And, divide the pineapple jam filling into 5 portions.
- Roll each portion of dough into 8"x4" rectangle, shape each pineapple jam into an 8" long thin log, place on the center of the dough. Roll into a log, and cut into 8 equal pieces, each 1" long. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet. (**)
- Repeat until all dough and jam filling is used up.
- Preheat oven to 150 Celsius (300 Fahrenheit). Chill the shaped cookies in the fridge while the oven is preheating.
- Once the oven temperature reaches 150 Celsius (300 Fahrenheit), remove the cookies from the fridge, and immediately bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, then apply egg wash on top of each cookie, and decorate with black sesame seeds.
- Bake again for another 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Once the cookies are completely cool, store in air-tight container.
- (*) If you prefer your nastar to be filled with plenty of pineapple jam, feel free to double the filling recipe. The tart crust recipe should stay the same.
- (**) I use a sushi bamboo mat to help with the rolling.
Thanks for the recipe! Do you really need to use cake flour or can I use regular all-purpose flour? How about the milk powder? it's a bit hard to find milk powder where I live ...
You can use all-purpose flour too Alice, the cookies will just have less melt-in-your-mouth texture compared to cake flour. Milk powder gives umami to the cookies, but you can safely omit if it is hard to find. Or, if you can find malted milk powder from Ovaltine or Carnation, that should work too.
Hi Anita, I never liked nastar my whole life, I always eat other cookies during Hari Raya. The reasons because mostly nastar I tasted was overly sweet that made my tooth ache, but it seems now I like (this) nastar after tried your recipe (my friend sent me your recipe link). So, I made these today, I used just normal white flour, reduce the sugar as my taste bud like in pineapple jam then follow the instruction, turn out it so so good & melts in your mouth, love it! So thank you.
Oh, your comment really made my day Indri. I am super happy you finally found the nastar recipe of your dream. :) Just like you, I don't like things that are too sweet, and ended up baking most of cookies and desserts on my own.
I finally made it! People like the tart filing in general; I substituted sharp cheddar for parmesan based on availability. I think the dough to filling ratio could be improved, about 20% less dough might be better. Or maybe I just like a lot of fillings in my nastart :) Thanks for the recipe Anita!
Thank you for the input, Alice. Certainly, the tart to filling ratio can be very personal. I prefer more filling too, to be honest, but I will hear no end of complaint from my hubby if I dare to stuff more filling, haha. ;)
These are just stunning -- and they taste even better!
Love this pineapple tart recipe! Unique and a fun yellow colored filling!
I love how simple and delicious this turned out -- I especially loved how tasty the pinapple jam filling. Can't wait to try this again!
veena Azmanov says:
This Pineapple tart is a win win. They looks awesome and the combinations amazing. Lovely to try them for this festive season.
Patty at Spoonabilities says:
These are amazing! I love anything with pineapple. I cannot wait to try this recipe!
This was such a unique recipe! I love pineapple, and this was great.
Jennifer Q says:
Thank you for the tips on how to keep the tart from expanding. That's always been an issue for me, and now I know what to do. Thanks so much!
You are welcome, Jennifer. That tart expanding issue has been my bane for the longest time too. I'm so glad I can finally almost 100% troubleshoot that problem. :)
This is such an interesting sweet treat! I would love to try this! Looks so good!
Sandhya Hariharan says:
This Pineapple tart sounds so unique. It will make a great sharing dessert for Christmas.
These will be perfect for Christmas, Sandhya. In Indonesia, all the bakeries will sell these for all the big holidays, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Idul Fitri, e.t.c.
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says:
Oh wow these look amazing and I bet they taste fantastic. Would love to give these a try.
is using cake flour too soft or too crumbly for the crust? what is the purpose of cornstarch? thanks.
The purpose of cornstarch is to lower the protein content in the flour, making the final cookies more tender. But if you don't have cornstarch, feel free to increase your cake flour by another 4 tablespoons.
I seriously thought I was going to mess these up. I hit a few snags, and even when I thought all hope was lost, I pulled them from the oven and it was the most delicious pineapple confection I have ever eaten. (Granted, I've eaten a lot of cheap quality Taiwanese pineapple cakes, so that's my main point of comparison.) The sweetness was just right, and the cheese added that extra "something."
I tried this recipe some time ago, so I'll try to remember what I did. First off, I halved the crust recipe- I don't generally like making huge batches on an untried recipe, and I know I'm a "filling" type person anyway. I used all-purpose flour, and I used some shaved Parmesan as my cheese. When I mixed it up, it would not make a ball. That could have been caused by many things; mis-measured ingredients, or using a too-dry type of cheese... but in desperation I added a splash of cold water (I'm pretty comfortable with pie crusts, lol) and it came together.
For the filling, I used a can of pineapple chunks (since it's what I had laying around) and I sort of mashed it while cooking. It worked out okay in the end, but I think if I use pineapple pieces, I'll blend/food-process it first because trying to smoosh it while it was really hot was... kind of dangerous. It would also make it easier to cut the rolled cookies because longer strands of pineapple stuck out, making them look slightly less pretty.
The hard thing about halving the recipe was determining how big to roll out the dough. I just made some vague rectangle and did my best. I don't think it mattered much, as long as the filling stays put. The main frustration was that when I put the egg wash on the hot cookies, it dried up right away and the sesame seeds didn't stick unless I did them at the same time. But by the time they were done, there wasn't any puffing/rising and they looked nice (as long as I cut them evenly haha)
I'd definitely make this recipe again since they are such a distinctive cookie- the sweet, the tang, the cheesiness. The crust was very flavorful and rich, no matter the amount of filling- they will be excellent.
Milky, thanks for trying this recipe out and giving such a detailed feedback. The black sesame seeds are purely for decoration, so feel free to skip them for next time. :)
Hi Anita, thanks so much for the recipe. I tried it twice but still have the difficulty to roll the dough perfectly because it will break apart. Is there a way to make it stick together better? I have no problem with the taste, it melted so heavenly in my mouth. But I wish I could make the tarts look prettier.
This tart behaves very much like a pie crust, so if it's a bit dry, you can add a splash of cold water, or even better, a splash of vodka to make it less dry. Also, you can cover the portion of the dough that you are not currently working on with a wet kitchen towel so it doesn't dry out.
I am super excited to try this recipe! I live overseas as this is my favorite Eid cookie and when my family shipps them from Malaysia they don't survive the journey. One question, how thick do you roll the pastry? Thank you!
Hi Yasmeen, I wasn't exactly precise but it should be around 1/8 inch (~ 3 mm) thick. Also, have fun shaping and baking some pineapple tart. :)
hi Anita how long does it take to cook the pineapple?
Hi Li, it's usually around 60 minutes to reduce the jam until it's thick enough for pineapple tart filling.
I don’t have milk powder, can I use like a splash of milk or just omit it completely? Does that change the texture? Also, does it matter if butter or margarine is used? Thanks!
Hi Molly, you can omit the milk powder if you don't have it, or you can substitute the milk powder with creamer/malted milk powder if you have them in your pantry.
I don't recommend using margarine. You can use it if that's what you have, but you may not like the end results. You won't get that melt-in-your-mouth texture from margarine, and the cookies won't be as rich and as flavorful compared to the ones made with butter.
Hi! For the can of crushed pineapple you used, is the 567g the drained weight of the pineapple, or does this include the juice syrup that comes with it in the can? Do you just dump the whole can including the syrup to cook the filling?
Hi June, I include the juice from the can of pineapple. So yes, I just use the whole can, meat and juice, to make the pineapple jam/filling. :)
Thanks! Will do so! And also wondering if you have any tips in rolling out the dough into the 8” by 4” rectangle perfectly? I do not have professional dough shaping tools at hand in the kitchen...
Hi June, you can use any rolling pin. It's easier if you roll it slightly bigger and cut the excess with a knife to shape it into 8"x4". ;)
Michelle S says:
Hi Anita, I just came across your recipe and tried it out. Turned out perfect & was lovely! The pastry was really melt in your mouth & tasty. Just wondering if I were to make a batch without cheese, what can I use as substitute? Would it be more flour? Thanks in advance.
Hi Michelle, thanks for the review. If you want to omit the cheese, the easiest would be to substitute the 50 grams cheese with 50 grams cake flour. Also, you may want to increase the salt from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon since the dough will be less salty without the cheese.
Hi! Regarding the milk powder, do we have to replace the 25g with flour or is it fine to just completely cut it out with not replacing it with anything? I will be using just plain flour and not cake flour as well.
Hi June, it is better to replace the 25 gram of milk powder with 25 gram of cake flour. You can use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, but the cookies will not be as melt-in-your-mouth tender compared to using cake flour.
Hi planning to use this recipe for Hari Raya. Possible to the the tarts shape into sunflower? Will it affect the texture and cooking time? Thanks will appreciate your reply.
Hi April, I haven' tried shaping the dough into sunflower shapes, but I think it should be strong enough to hold the shape. If you still want to give it a go, I suggest using the same baking temperature and time.
april bruza says:
Hi Anita. The dough turn out to be to soft for me to shape into sunflower so i decided to shape it into balls. Turns our pefect. My husband said its the best tart recipe i did so far. Thank you will keep this recipe for as a family heirloom😂 Thanks again.
Fantastic recipe! I tried making traditionally shaped Kue Nastar and it was a nightmare; this is much easier and faster way to get pretty, even cookies. I had my doubts about the parm in the recipe, but it absolutely gives them a savory undertone that heightens the pineapple flavor. My Indonesian friends loved them, including a former professional baker. 11/10 would recommend.
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