Zoe and I are so excited to share this INCREDIBLE recipe with you today. We are delighted to present our “PALEO, GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, REFINED SUGAR FREE PINEAPPLE TARTS”. This is a traditional Chinese New Year Dessert found in Malaysia and Indonesia called nastar. There are several others version of pineapple tarts found across Asia, like the famous Taiwanese 鳳梨酥.
Growing up, pineapple tarts or 鳳梨酥 was always a rare treat! If you ask anyone in Hong Kong what Taiwan is famous for? They will almost always say pineapple tarts. Any friends or family traveling to Taiwan would always bring boxes of pineapple tarts back as souvenirs and gifts. They came in a large box, holding only a scarce number of rectangular shaped packets. Each packet would hold a delicate rectangular shaped pastry tart. And oh my gosh.. it is delicious – dense, buttery, flaky crust with a sweet pineapple jam filling.
STORY OF A JOURNEY FROM FAILURE TO SUCCESS:
Well…the only real problem is they are filled with carbs, refined sugar, butter and gluten. How on earth would I be able to enjoy this beautiful dessert again? After searching all over the internet for a paleo, gluten free, pineapple tart recipe it was quite futile. I was almost certain we would never ever be able to eat those delicious pineapple tarts again. Its been months since I’ve thought about this until it was our friends birthday today. He is from Singapore and we wanted to make something that reminded him of home. What was the first thing we thought of?
That’s right: pineapple tarts.
We picked up our relentless search for this pineapple tart with little hope. We did eventually find one however as we made it the dough was much too crumbly to work with. Frustrated and disappointed, I turned to Zoe and just told her we should just throw it away. It was not a good day. I would never be able to eat it again.
After a few minutes of just staring at each other sadly, we talked over the possibilities of what we could do to salvage this mixture. With nothing to lose, we decided to add an egg, a bit more coconut oil and almond flour and give it a shot.
We both worked diligently, side by side. Carefully, we wrapped each of our pineapple jam balls with a sheet of a still – crumbly (but much easier to handle) buttery pastry. After leaving it in the fridge, we then brushed it with some egg wash and sent it to the oven to bake. Rather anxiously and impatiently, we waited besides the oven curious to know how these little morsels turned out. The next 15 minutes felt like eternity.
And then…a miracle happened. It worked! The pastry was still crumbly but still able to hold its shape without falling apart.
The atmosphere in the kitchen completely changed from a depressing one to a happy one full of smiles. We hadn’t tried it yet but they look gorgeous – golden brown and flaky – exactly like how I remembered them to be.
Now all we needed to know was how it tasted. So was it a success?
Absolutely Yes. We had a couple friends over for a “Korean dinner night”. We had Jajang bean paste Korean rice cake, Korean Japchae (sweet potato noodles with vegetables and meat), meatballs, Soy Sauce Fishcakes, Korean Dakgalbi…it was quite the feast. An incredible sunday night meal!
Then it was time for the dessert…
We nervously took out the pineapple tarts and chocolate covered granola marshmallow fudge. (We made the fudge in case the pineapple tarts was a failure). You should have seen their eyes sparkling with excitement as we told them what we had made. Most of these girls had grown up in Asia and had grown up to love eating pineapple tarts. Sadly in America it is a rare treat because t is extremely definitely difficult to find.
Mia and I held our breaths as we watched them bite into the pineapple tarts. There was silence. No one said anything. It made me so nervous. After 5 minutes, one shyly asked if she could have another tart, then someone else jumped in to ask if she could have another one too. Then slowly one by one without any encouragement they commented oh how good the pineapple tarts tasted – in fact it tasted even better than the chocolate fudge (which was our backup)! Before they had to leave, one of our friends asked to if she could take one home to her Taiwanese boyfriend.
When I told my friend she could take one more home for herself, her eyes grew twice the size in surprise and happiness.
Was it that good? OH Yes it was. And we will no doubt be making this again! So Let us know what you think of it! (It won’t taste exactly the same but it tastes amazing as a pineapple tart – still buttery, sweet, addictive and delicious! And just so you know none of our friends are gluten intolerant or paleo eaters so this has passed the test!)
So we present to you our beautiful pineapple tarts from scratch – our version of our childhood favorite: 鳳梨酥.
*The only change we will make to make it less crumbly is to fridge the dough before wrapping it around the pineapple jam. This will make it easier to handle and hopefully less crumbly!
Please Check Out our NEWEST REVISED version of this RECIPE
Filling adapted from RasaMalaysia
Ingredients – makes about 16
- 1 15oz can pineapple chunks
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (+ 1 tbsp optional)
- 1 egg
- Egg wash: 1 egg yolk + 2 tsp water
How to Make:
- Strain your can of pineapples. Using your hands, squeeze out all the liquid from the pineapples. You want them pretty dry.
- Add the pineapples to a blender. Process for 10 seconds until you get a mushy mixture.
- In a small saucepan, add your pineapples and maple syrup. Turn heat to medium- low. Slowly cook down your pineapples. This process will take about 20-25 minutes. Most of your liquid should be evaporated and your pineapple jam will be golden and thicker.
- Set aside to cool and let it cool in the fridge (you can leave this overnight if you want).
- For the pastry, in a large bowl mix together you almond flour, melted coconut oil and egg. You should get a crumbly mixture.
- Cover and put in fridge for about 20-30 minutes to let it harden.
- Using a teaspoon, measure out your jam. Form little 1 tsp balls and set them on a plate.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 16 portions. Flatten each portion of dough using your palm and wrap around your pineapple jam fillings. Make ping-pong sized balls. Just make sure all of the filling is covered. It might be crumbly and a little hard to work with but the cracks on the outside will actually give it a rustic look.
- Arrange on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Set aside to cool before eating!