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Pineapple Jam Tarts

Pineapple Jam Tarts

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and this year is extra special for me. This is the first time in 15 years that I will be celebrating Chinese New Year here in Malaysia with my extended family after living in the United States all these years. We just moved back to Penang several months ago. As a special treat, a few blogger friends and I have put together an online virtual Chinese New Year cookie party! (Click here or scroll to the bottom of this post to see the other cookie recipes!) I’m sharing the recipe to one of my favorites – Pineapple Jam Tarts!

I’ve loved Pineapple Jam Tarts ever since I was little. My grand-uncle used to bake these cookies for us and I would devour them. The pineapple jam on the top is so rich and sweet, and pairs so well with the flakey, buttery cookie.

Pineapple Jam Tarts have become extremely popular during the Chinese New Year season. The word “pineapple” translated into the Hokkien dialect is “Ong Lai”. Ong means “prosperity” and Lai means “to come” or “to arrive”. So, “Ong Lai” translates into “prosperity has arrived”. People eat Pineapple Jam Tarts during the Chinese New Year season hoping that it will bring them good luck and prosperity.

The first step is to make the pineapple jam. This pineapple jam is quite thick. Thick enough to roll into little balls to place on top of the cookies. Not quite the same type of jam you would spread on your toast. I highly recommend using fresh, ripe pineapple as opposed to canned pineapple. If you have to use canned pineapple, use canned crushed pineapple.

Cut off the pineapple skin, then cut the pineapple into smaller chunks so that you can grate it. You will need four cups of shredded pineapple (approx. two small pineapples). Tip: Slice the pineapple horizontally so that you get a little bit of the core in each wedge. Hold on to that core so that you don’t bust your knuckles and fingertips while grating the soft pineapple flesh. Discard the core when you’re done grating.

Put the shredded pineapple in a large saucepan along with 2 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 cinnamon sticks, 1 star anise, 3 whole cloves and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Pineapple Jam Tarts

Simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Keep stirring to prevent the jam from burning. It will turn into a nice golden colour. You’ll know it’s ready when it is very thick and the pineapple pulp becomes a bit translucent. Remove the cinnamon stick, star anise and cloves.

Pineapple Jam Tarts

When the jam is completely cool, roll it into small balls using your palms. Slightly less than a teaspoon for each ball. Place them on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.

Now on to the pastry…..This would be a good time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift 4 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl, then add 1 teaspoon of salt. You will also need 250grams of cold butter. If you are in the US, this is approximately 2 1/4 sticks of butter. If you are in Malaysia, one stick of Golden Churn or SCS butter is 250g so you’ll just need one.

Cut the butter into approximately half inch cubes and toss them in the flour. Use your fingers to “massage” the butter into the flour until the flour is crumbly.

Pineapple Jam Tarts

Add two large eggs and 4 tablespoons of cold water into the flour. Use your hands to combine these ingredients to form a ball of dough. Do not knead it too much.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thick sheet on a floured surface. Use a cookie cutter (1.5 to 2 inch diameter) to cut out the dough and place them on parchment paper over a cookie sheet. Make a divot in the center of each cookie, then place one pineapple jam ball in the middle.

Pineapple Jam Tarts

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Let it cool completely before enjoying.

(Scroll down for the printable recipe)

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Here are the links to all of the cookie recipes for this virtual party. We would greatly appreciate it if you could please share this post using the hashtag #ChineseNewYearCookieParty

Chinese New Year Cookie Party Recipes:

Vegan Cornflake Cereal Cookies by Vermillion Roots

Fried Red Bean Puffs by The Missing Lokness

Chinese Peanut Cookies by Daily Cooking Quest

Chocolate Almond Cookies by Curious Nut

Tapioca cookies (Kue Bangkit) by What To Cook Today

Red Bean & Strawberry Pinwheel Cookies by Lito Supply Co

Sesame Spiral Pie Cookies by Bams Kitchen

Mochi Stuffed Almond Cookies by Miss Hangrypants

Melt-in-the-Mouth Chinese Gluten-Free Peanut Cookies by Foodie Baker

Honey Almond Cookies by Hapa Nom Nom

Quinoa Sesame Brittle by Omnivore’s Cookbook

Browned Butter Chinese Walnut Cookies by Yummy Workshop

Macau Almond Cookies by Thirsty for Tea

Pineapple Jam Tarts

Pineapple Jam Tarts

Char Ferrara
4.24 from 13 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Cuisine Chinese


For the pineapple jam:

For the cookie:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 sticks butter chilled
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons cold water


  • Combine shredded pineapple, sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and lemon juice in a large saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Let the pineapple jam cool completely before handling. Discard cinnamon stick, star anise and cloves.
  • Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add salt.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and toss into flour. Use your hands to combine the butter and flour until the flour is crumbly.
  • Add the eggs and cold water.
  • Use your hands to knead the pastry dough till it forms into a ball. Do not over-knead.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Roll the pineapple jam into individual small balls. Set aside.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry dough into a quarter inch thick sheet. Use a cookie cutter to cut out dough. Make a divot in the center of the cookie, then place one ball of pineapple jam in the middle.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Enjoy!


Serving: 1gCalories: 287kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 4gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 213mgFiber: 2gSugar: 25g
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Pineapple Jam Tarts
Recipe Rating


Wednesday 15th of January 2020

Hi, I hv been hunting for a sugar-free pastry recipe n so happy to hv found yours! However, can u help me with the. metric measurement of that 4 cups of flour please? This is because the cup size for different regions differ. Thank you so much!


Thursday 16th of January 2020

Hi Grace! I'm happy that you have found this recipe! Thank you for checking it out. The pineapple jam does have sugar in it, but you are certainly welcome to reduce the sugar if you wish. 4 cups of flour converted to grams (by weight) is 480g. Hope that helps! Happy Chinese New Year to you!

plasterer bristol

Wednesday 1st of June 2016

oh wow, i remember making these as a kid. Old school classic.



Thursday 2nd of June 2016

Brings back memories, ya? Cheers, Simon :)


Sunday 13th of March 2016

What my mom used to do was to stick a knife into the peeled pineapple some way down the core till its stuck and then hold the pineapple still while moving the grater. After eating pineapple tarts with homemade jam its hard to eat the factory made ones...


Sunday 13th of March 2016

I totally agree!! :)


Tuesday 2nd of February 2016

I really enjoy pineapple desserts! The Taiwanese pineapple cakes are one of my favorite snacks! I am not sure whether these tarts taste similar or not, but they look amazing! That pineapple jam sounds irresistible! I am going to try making these soon! :)


Tuesday 2nd of February 2016

This is similar to the Taiwanese pineapple cake, especially the jam; but I think the pastry is different. Thanks, and Happy Chinese New Year to you! :)

Ann {Created To Cook}

Tuesday 2nd of February 2016

I LOVE that you use fresh pineapple for this recipe. I'm really excited to give this a try. I can't get enough of the Taiwanese Pineapple Tea Cakes that my friend brings me... (only they look way too complicated to try and make at home). So I love the simplicity and freshness of your version and imagine it would taste similar. Thank you for sharing such a lovely family recipe and great step by step photos.


Tuesday 2nd of February 2016

Thank you, Ann! I appreciate your kind comments :) Happy Chinese New Year to you!