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Pineapple tarts made easy – tips on making these Chinese New Year treasures



Chinese New Year cookies have been a New Year highlight for countless people over many generations. And while there’s a whole array to choose from, the darling of the Chinese New Year cookies has to be the pineapple tart.

The famed pineapple tart, an essential in every household come Chinese New Year, is known as Ong Lai in the Hokkien dialect. Although the literary translation means ‘golden pear’, it sounds exactly like ‘prosperity come’, hence its popularity.

These days, many people use pineapple jam to make the popular treat, but there’s no substitute for freshly hand-grated pineapple filling. The grated pineapple is cooked slowly for several hours with sugar, cinnamon, cloves and star anise, giving it its distinct flavour.

The main difference in pineapple tarts comes from the crust. There are both hard crust and soft crust tarts. And though recipes for both crusts differ slightly, they mostly consist of a heavy portion of butter and egg to flour.

The challenge comes in putting the jam and the crust together. Because of the sheer number of tarts required for the New Year, this massive undertaking is normally a family activity.

Initially, the traditional way of assembling the tart was to have the crust at the bottom as a circle or flower shape with a ball of the pineapple filling sitting on top of it. As bakers became more creative and innovative, many other variations of the tart appeared. Popular ones include a pineapple-shaped tart with the filling totally covered by the crust and another one resembles an egg roll with the filling oozing at the sides.

Pineapple tarts by Sebastian Mary

Traditional shaped pineapple tarts
Photo credit: Sebastian Mary

Pineapple shaped tarts by Juliana Phang

Pineapple shaped tarts
Photo credit:
Juliana Phang

egg roll shape tarts by Juliana Phang

Egg roll shape tarts
Photo credit: Juliana Phang

Just as there are many variations in the look of pineapple tarts, so are the actual recipes themselves. Most households have secret recipes passed down from mother to daughter. A simple search online yields countless recipes for you to experiment with. But ask any seasoned baker and they’ll tell you the trick is to make the recipe your own.

Electrolux, however, has a few handy tips to help you with preparing your pineapple tarts.

Tips for baking your very own pineapple tarts:

  • If you want a fibrous texture to your filling, grate your pineapples. If you want a smooth texture, use a food processor.
  • Making enough tarts to last through Chinese New Year is a time-consuming process. Don’t try to finish everything in a day. Make your pineapple filling one day in advance and store it in your Electrolux refrigerator.  Electrolux refrigerators feature multi-air flow systems that keep your food fresh and many compartments to provide maximum storage for all your New Year goodies.
  • Baking time and temperatures cause varying results. Experiment with them using Electrolux ovens. With precise digital controls and ultra fan cooking, experimenting to make your perfect tart is easy. Once you have the perfect temperature and time, pre-set both and leave your worries behind.
  • Apply egg wash to your tarts before baking to achieve that scrumptious golden-brown finish and glossy top.
  • Cool your freshly baked tarts completely before storing so that they don’t get mouldy easily.

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