Malaysian Pineapple Tarts for Chinese New Year

Malaysian Pineapple Tarts by A Little Yumminess

Pineapple tarts are little pockets of crumbly, buttery, pineapple-jammy goodness…… the quintessential Lunar New Year’s sweet treat in Malaysia and Taiwan. Making these cookies is a tasty little way to bring a little lunar new year celebration into your kitchen and makes for a fun collaborative cooking project to do with kids or friends. It’s true that they’re a bit time consuming to put together since you have to make pineapple jam in addition to the cookie dough, but all in all none of the steps are particularly difficult.  Just make the jam and dough ahead of time and then gather your helpers for a cookie assembly party.  Luca, who is 6 was able to assemble the cookies with only very little help from me — thanks to our trusty tortilla press. My little guy loved brushing the cookies with eggwash before they went into the oven.

Having delved into the world of pineapple tarts over the past weeks, I have learned that there are a variety of styles (Malaysian, Taiwanese, different shapes and decorations, filled, open face)….. which means with the basic dough and jam, you can experiment with making the shape and size that appeal to you. The kids and I started off making ovals (more of the traditional pineapple shape), but somehow decided we liked the look of round balls with pineapple-ish slashes on top, glazed with an eggwash enhanced with sweetened condensed milk to make the cookies super golden and shiny.

After making a small test batch of these, I brought some over to Simran and her family for a taste. I didn’t get nervous until I thought about the fact that Simran and her parents lived in Singapore for many years, are total foodies and  would most definitely be familiar with this signature holiday treat…and I should probably also mention that they’re not afraid to call out sub-standard food when it crosses their path! So it was a bit like going in the lions den with this one. Luckily, they gave their thumbs up which means that you can feel free to make this recipe with a bit of street cred and that you really should bake some the next time you need to cheer up a homesick friend from Malaysia.

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Family Crafts: Fortune Cookies for the Lunar New Year (or Valentine’s Day)

Gung Hay Fat Choy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wanted to get a jump start on a Valentine’s Day craft that Luca could bring to his friends at school. We spotted this cute felt fortune cookie craft over on good old Martha Stewart’s website. Bingo! You could fill these with a couple pieces of candy, write up funny fortunes, or just tuck in some stickers or doo-dads from the dime store. A cute one for the Lunar New Year or Valentine’s Day, but a quick and fun craft project or party favor for anytime of the year, too!

Felt Fortune Cookie Craft (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Materials: felt, floral wire, sewing machine and thread (or hot glue).

  1. Cut some felt circles 4.5″ in diameter.
  2. With your leftover felt scraps, cut some pieces less than 4.5″ long (We did ours about 3.5 inches, you don’t have to be exact) and about 1/2″ wide.
  3. Cut some thin wire (floral wire will do) in pieces 6-7″ long (about twice as long as your felt scraps), bend them in half and twist the ends to secure. You can use some pliers to crimp pointy ends so they don’e poke through the felt.
  4. Place your wire across the center of your felt circle and place your felt scrap on top to cover the wire. We tacked ours down using a large zig zag stitch on the sewing machine, but you could use hot glue. If you use a sewing machine, it’s a good idea to back stitch both ends fairly well.
  5. Bend the circle into a fortune cookie shape. First, bend in half like a taco with the wire on the inside along the bottom edge. Then, bend the two wired ends towards each other and shape the felt until you like the shape.
  6. Tuck in your surprises and give to someone special.

 

Speaking of fortune cookies….. “Sparkletack”, a great podcast for anyone interested in San Francisco history, has an interesting episode on the disputed origins of the Fortune Cookie. Check it out!