Pineapple tarts are super popular in Malaysia not only during Chinese New Year, but Deepavali and Hari Raya too.
Let’s just say the flavors are universally loved by many!
But how well do we really know about these melt-in-your-mouth morsels?
We bet you didn’t know these amazing facts behind these cult favorite pineapple tarts.
The History of Pineapple
Despite popular belief, pineapple isn’t exactly a native fruit of Asia. It originated from Guadeloupe in the South Caribbean Sea.
On his 2nd voyage in 1493, Christopher Columbus had a taste of pineapple and brought it back to Spain.
The Spaniards and Portugese then introduced pineapple to Malaya in the 16th century.
Who Created Pineapple Tarts?
Some ethnicities may fight over who invented pineapple tarts first.
Pineapple tarts was largely attributed to the Peranakans of Malaya who were influenced by the Portugese settlers.
The Portugese had a unique way of making pastries by rubbing butter into flour which was later adopted by the Peranakan Nyonyas.
Since there was an abundance of pineapple crops, they turned pineapples into jams and pastes.
Eventually, the Peranakans used the dough recipe with their pineapple jam and lo-and-behold, kueh tae or pineapple tarts were created!
Why Pineapple Tarts are Enjoyed During CNY
It is well-known that Chinese culture highly regard the color gold as it symbolizes wealth and prosperity.
The golden pineapple fruit itself was considered a lucky fruit on top of the fact that pineapple literally translates to ‘prosperity comes’ in Hokkien.
Soon after, pineapple tarts became a popular treat during Chinese New Year not only during celebrations but also as auspicious gifts.
To this day, pineapple tarts are enjoyed during almost every festive season including Hari Raya and Deepavali.
The Different Types of Pineapple Tarts
The Original Peranakans made pineapple tarts as an flower-shaped, open-faced pastry, dolloped with pineapple jam on top, topped with a criss-cross lattice.
Now, with different adaptations of various cultures in Malaysia, we are blessed with newer variations of pineapple tarts.
- Nyonya Pineapple Tart
- Taiwanese Pineapple Cake
Pineapple Tarts in Different Countries
Of course, this delicacy is not only a festive favorite for Malaysians. Although there are many variations, the Tat Nanas is centred around the sweet and tangy pineapple jam filling.
Our close neighbor, Singapore also celebrates their festivities with pineapple tarts being a top favorite confection.
In Indonesia, pineapple tarts or as what they call it ‘Nastar’, are made with spiced pineapple jam and a melt-in-the-mouth pastry rolled into a golden ball.
As for Taiwan, it is technically called a pineapple cake due to its shortcake pastry recipe and a dollop of pineapple paste on top.
How to Make a Perfect Pineapple Tart
As with every other confection, a pineapple tart must have a perfect balance of flavor and texture.
The pineapple jam needs to be sweet and tangy as a perfect contrast to the buttery and crumbly pastry surrounding it.
The ratio of the pastry and pineapple paste should also balance out. Although this is largely due to preference, a good rule of thumb is to make sure they do not overpower each other.
In the end, what you’re looking for is a crumbly yet pillowy crust with a pleasantly sweet pineapple filling, a combination that is simply to die for!
Passionately-made Premium Pineapple Tarts
Pineapple tarts make look simple, but not everyone can make a traditional pineapple tart.
It requires premium ingredients and specialized skills to make sure the flavors and textures and perfectly balanced.
One other thing that commercial confection-makers can’t duplicate is generational legacy.
A family recipe and process through generations makes pineapple tarts all the more superior – just like ours.