This buttery vegan Pineapple tart or Nastar, 凤梨酥 (Fèng lí sū) recipe is my family’s favorite treat to make for Lunar New Year. They have the perfect melt-in-your-mouth crust with a delicious homemade pineapple filling.
Pineapple tarts (cookies) are also known as 凤梨酥 (Fèng lí sū) or 凤梨饼 (Fèng lí bǐng) or Kueh Nastar in Malay. They have a sweet pineapple jam filling with an addictive crispy crust.
It is one of the most popular festive treats to eat during the Lunar New Year back at home. As the festive season is fast approaching, you’ll see many home bakers start selling a lot of home-baked goods; Pineapple tarts are always the best seller.
What is Pineapple Tart and the meaning behind?
I know these delicious treats don’t resemble anything like the normal tarts that you are familiar with, but they have a special meaning for me growing up in Malaysia.
In my family, pineapple means more than just a fruit. It also means prosperity. In Hokkien, pineapple is ‘ong lai’ and ‘ong’ is wealth or prosperity where ‘lai’ sounds like come or here.
So, when the two words combined, it sounds like prosperity is coming. It’s an auspicious treat and the golden color signifies wealth. One of the traditions that my mom told me was to roll a pineapple into your new house for good luck.
Try these auspicious and delicious pineapple tarts today. Did I mention they make perfect gifts too?
How to Make Vegan Pineapple Tart
There are two parts in this recipe and you can break them down into two days or a few days apart. Sometimes, I make the pineapple filling, roll them into balls, and store them in an airtight container until ready to use.
Part 1: Make the filling
If you have a favorite chunky pineapple jam brand or you are able to find pineapple paste from the store, you’ll save a lot of time making these tarts. Since I don’t have any readymade paste, so I’m showing you how to make the filling from scratch.
First, prepare the pineapple by removing the leafy crown and the outer layer with a knife. Remove all the ‘eyes’ with a pairing knife and cut the pineapple into big chunks (I kept the core).
Blend all pineapple chunks in a high-speed blender and drain them over a fine-mesh sieve. This step will save some cooking time later. Reserve the juice for smoothies (I got about 2 cups).
Transfer drained pineapple into a non-stick pan. Cook the mixture over medium heat by stirring continuously until it turns into a paste, about 30 to 45 minutes. Stirring is important as you don’t want the pineapple to get burnt.
Note: It’s advisable to use a taller pan to avoid getting a mess with all the juice splashes from cooking. To avoid this, I sometimes cover the pan with a lid during the first few minutes. Also, a non-stick pan is helpful as the paste tends to stick to the bottom of the pan when the juice evaporates.
Season with sugar and continue to cook until the paste turns darker yellow and not wet. I like mine with a little tartness but some pineapples are sweeter than others, so adjust the sweetness accordingly.
Stir until the sugar is well-combined. The pineapple should turn into a thick moldable paste, thicker than jam.
Set aside to cool and divide the paste into 8g – 9g balls.
Part 2: Make the dough
There are only 3 main ingredients for the dough; flour, vegan butter, and sugar. When making pastries, I like to sift my flour and powdered sugar so there are no big lumps, and it’s easier to blend with the rest of the ingredients.
Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment and cream the softened butter and sugar until they turn pale yellow. Then, stir in the sugar and mix until all incorporated.
Slowly add in flour and knead until a pastry dough forms. The bowl should be clean and have no sticky residue. You may need more or less flour depending on the type of butter used.
Divide the dough into 10g – 11g balls. The ratio of dough to filling is up to personal preference. As long as you can cover the filling with a thin dough, then you are good to go.
Part 3: How to form the Pineapple tarts
Take a dough and flatten it with your palm. Using your fingers, pinch the dough into a larger circle.
Place a filling in the middle and pinch the edges to seal. If you like to make the top look like a pineapple, use a pastry cutter to make a few crosses for the pattern.
Arrange the pineapple tarts slightly apart on a baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper. These tarts won’t fluff up too much so it’s okay to fit them nicely on the baking pan.
Part 4: Bake the Pineapple Tarts
Preheat the oven to 350°F (~175°C). Brush each tart a thin layer of maple syrup. Note: I adjust my sugar down in the dough because I’m adding the maple syrup here.
Bake for about 30 – 35 minutes until fully cooked through. Note: Oven temperature varies.
Depending on the color of your vegan butter, the finished tarts may look pale yellow. Let them cool completely before storing.
Vegan Pineapple Tart FAQ
- If you want to break the cooking process into 2 parts: make the filling a few days before and refrigerate. Then, when you are ready, make the crust and bake the same day.
- Once the pineapple tarts are completely cooled, store them in an airtight container.
- Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for longer shelf life. Thaw to room temperature or reheat in a toaster oven for a warm treat.
- Some vegan butter may have a pale yellow so your tart may look lighter. What I did was to reduce the sugar in the dough and brush a layer of maple syrup for the golden color before baking.
Check out my other recipes:
Why you Need this Vegan Pineapple Tart recipe
- Buttery and melt-in-your-mouth texture
- It’s made from simple ingredients
- The perfect treat for any celebrations
- A best sweet gift for family and friends
- Delicious and great family activity
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Vegan Pineapple Tart – 凤梨酥
- Mixer fitted with Paddle attachment
- 2 fresh ripe pineapple* (about 4lbs/2kg after the skin is removed)
- ½ cup sugar of choice or more if needed
- 225 g [2 sticks] vegan butter room temperature
- 1-2 tablespoons plant milk optional
- 40 g [6 tablespoons] powdered sugar sifted
- 350 g all-purpose flour* sifted
- maple syrup
Prepare the Pineapple Paste
- Prepare the pineapple by removing the leafy crown and the outer layer with a knife.
- Remove all the 'eyes' with a pairing knife and cut pineapple into big chunks (I kept the core).
- Blend all pineapple chunks in a high-speed blender.
- Drain the blended pineapple over a fine-mesh sieve. Reserve the juice for smoothies.
- Transfer the pineapple onto a large non-stick pan.
- Turn on the heat, and cook the mixture over medium heat by stirring continuously* until it turns into a paste. This process takes about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Season with sugar and continue to cook until the paste turns darker yellow and not too wet.
- Set aside to cool and divide the paste into 8g – 9g balls.
Prepare the dough
- Meanwhile, fit the mixer with a paddle attachment.
- Cream butter and sugar until they turn pale yellow.
- Then, gradually add in the flour and knead into a soft dough or until the mixing bowl is clean and no longer sticky. You may need more or less of the flour depending on the butter used.
- Transfer the dough onto a cleaned surface and divide them into 10 – 11g balls.
How to form into Pineapple Tart
- Take a dough and flatten it with your palm. Using your fingers, pinch to enlarge the dough into a circular shape, about 2.5"- 3" wide.
- Place a filling in the middle and bring the sides together to seal. Roll it into a ball. Use a pastry cutter to make a few crosses to resemble the shape of a pineapple.
- Arrange the pineapple tarts on a lined baking sheet pan, slightly apart*. Continue until you have finished the rest of the ingredients.
Bake, Serve, or Store
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (~175°C).
- Brush the pineapple tarts with a thin layer of maple syrup.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until fully cooked through. Since the oven temperature varies, so please watch the time here. This step is only to bake the raw dough as the filling is already cooked.
- Let it cool completely before storing.
- As mentioned above, you can always make the filling ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Pineapple Jam Paste – adjust the sugar accordingly depending on the sweetness of the pineapple
- It’s advisable to use a tall pan when cooking the pineapple to prevent the pineapple from splashing.
- My dough to filling ratio is usually 1 – 2 grams different depending on how thin I want the crust to be.
- *Since the tarts won’t fluff up much, I arrange them slightly apart so I could bake more at once.