Lunar New Year is approaching soon. It will fall on 16 and 17 February this year. Lunar New Year is also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. In the midst of all the preparations for Lunar New Year, I wanted to share my favourite New Year goodie with you.
Pineapple tarts are my favourite of all the delicacies during this festive time. They are buttery cookies wrapped with pineapple paste. They taste fantastic because the buttery flavour goes wonderfully well with the sweetness and slight tartness of the pineapple paste. Pineapple tarts don’t last long in my home. Everyone loves them. I’ll be making more for myself and my relatives. Other than pineapple tarts, some of the typical goodies you can find at each house during Lunar New Year visiting are cashew cookies, almond cookies, love letters, kuih bangkit, green pea cookies, bak kwa, and yu sheng, just to name a few.
This year, we are welcoming the Year of the Dog. There are twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac. During Lunar New Year, people visit their family and friends, bringing festive greetings to them. It is customary to exchange two mandarin oranges with the relative or friend you are visiting as a gesture of exchanging well-wishes for the new year. It is also a tradition for parents and married couples to give hong bao (red packets with money) to their children and family or friends’ children. Adult children show their filial piety and appreciation to their parents by giving them hong bao along with mandarin oranges and other gifts they may wish to lavish on their parents. One of the biggest highlights in the Lunar New Year celebration is the reunion dinner. Every family member gathers together to have dinner on the eve of Lunar New Year. Schools and offices end the day in the afternoon so that everyone has time to prepare for this important meal.
Lunar New Year is a tradition for all Chinese families. There are a lot of preparations leading up to the New Year. Families spring clean their homes, shop for decorations, stock up the fridge for the reunion dinner, bake cookies and shop for new clothes. Before I get back to spring cleaning and making more pineapple tarts, here’s wishing all a Blessed Lunar New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai!
- 227g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 50g icing/confectioners sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 450g all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 500g pineapple paste, rolled into balls**
- small amount of beaten egg for egg wash
** I used pre-made pineapple paste bought from the supermarket. You could also make it from scratch. There are many online recipes on making pineapple paste from scratch. Here is a picture of a pack of pineapple paste.
- Sift icing sugar over unsalted butter. With an electric mixer cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffly, about 5 minutes.
- Dribble eggs into the mixture and continue mixing until everything comes together.
- Add salt and vanilla and continue mixing for about 1 minute.
- Sift flour into the mixture. Combine flour and butter mixture until a dough is formed. Form dough into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees celcius.
- Remove dough from the fridge. Form dough into a flat disc and place pineapple ball in the centre of the dough. Seal the dough and roll into balls.
- Use a scissors to make incisions to resemble pineapple skin (optional).
- Apply egg wash on pineapple tarts and bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
- Allow pineapple tarts to cool completely before storing them in air-tight containers.