Nastar cookies (Indonesian pineapple tarts)

I love taking part in cooking and baking challenges! There is so much that you can learn about a country or a culture by researching their traditional recipes and the food customs related to them. I always find it fascinating to read the stories, memories and experiences that people relate when they give you a traditional recipe that they grew up with. It always leaves me with a profound belief, that there is more that brings us humans together regardless of where we come from, what color our skin or eyes are, what language we speak or what religion we follow than what sets us apart.

Listen to someone telling you about how they used to help their mom make cookies on the eve of Eid, Easter or whatever festivity they celebrate and you can’t help but smile. Listen to someone telling you about their grandmother’s signature soup that only she could perfect and you can’t help but feel the warmth and love. Listen to someone telling you about the lemon tree in their father’s backyard and the smell of lemon blossoms in the morning and you can close your eyes and almost smell it too. We can all relate to those simple human experiences that make life so vivid and beautiful.
Malaysian pineapple cookies if you have never tried pinapple as a filling for shortbread cookies you don't know what you're missing out.jpg

The cute cookies you see in the pictures are called Nastar cookies. They are also known as pineapple tarts (I know they are cookies, but the same recipe is used to make 3 baked goods that only differ in the shape: pineapple tarts ,pineapple rolls and these cookies. It seems that the recipe took on the name of pineapple tarts due to the huge popularity of the tarts regardless of what shape you decide to make). These cookies are very popular in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. They are festive cookies that are associated with Eid, Easter and the chinese new year.

As I was researching Indonesian recipes for this month’s muslim food bloggers challenge, I came across nastar cookies and post after post, I got lost in the comment sections. People telling stories about their childhood and how they would spend hours helping their moms make the pineapple jam filling, or how they were in charge of making the criss cross pattern on top to make the cookies resemble a pineapple. I fell in love with the recipe even before I tried it because of all the warmth and sweet memories associated with it. Making Nastar cookies reminded me of all the memories associated with  making maamoul. The excitement building up as Eid approaches. Friends and family gathering to help. arranging cookies on Eid morning while the smell of freshly made coffee fills the house.

Nastar cookies, melt in your mouth crust with a fresh and sweet pineapple filling.jpg

After trying the recipe, I had more reasons to love it! If you have ever tried maamoul and ghraybeh, Nastar cookies are exactly what you would get if you combined maamoul and ghraybeh! The crust melts in your mouth (exactly the same as ghraybeh does)while the filling provides a burst of freshness, sweetness and flavor (like the fillings of maamoul do).  My kids had one word to describe these pineapple cookies when they tried them: These cookies are dangerous!

I couldn’t agree more!Stopping at one is impossible!

You have been warned!

If you love ma’amoul, shortbread cookies, or pineapples you MUST try these cookies. I know food bloggers tell you that recipes are a must all the time but I can honestly say that if I were to make a list of the best cookies that I have ever made, these nastar cookies will be very close to the top of the list
Melt in your mouth Malaysian pinapple cookies heavenly is an understatement.jpg

Nastar (Pineapple shortbread cookies / Tarts)
Recipe source: From the oven

To make the pastry:
220g (two sticks or one cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
375g  (2 1/2 cups) all purpose flour (I used patent)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
50g (6 tablespoons) confectioners’ sugar/icing sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the egg wash
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon sweetened condensed milk (optional)
1 teaspoon vinegar (to avoid the eggy smell)

For the pineapple filling (from fresh pineapples):
250g of pineapple flesh (1 medium sized pineapple peeled and cored )
1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of sugar (or to taste)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 cloves (optional but highly recommended)

For the pineapple filling (from canned pineapple)
1 can pineapple, drained
1/4 cup granulated sugar (or more to taste)
1-1.5 teaspoon cornstarch
5 cloves (optional but highly recommended)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

Directions

To prepare the pineapple filling
(from fresh pineapples):

  1. process the pineapples in the food processor till they are finely chopped, almost a puree
  2. Place the grated pineapple and cloves in a pot and stir over medium heat till most of the liquid has evaporated
  3. Add the sugar and lemon juice and continue to stir continuously till the filling becomes deeply golden in color, thick and sticky
  4. Taste to see if the filling has achieved the desired sweetness. Add more sugar if necessary.
  5. Take off the heat and allow the pineapple filling cool to room temperature then place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This will make the filling easier to handle. You  can make the filling ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Pineapple filling from canned crushed pineapple:

  1. Drain the pineapple well and process in a food processor till it becomes a puree
  2. Place the pineapple, sugar, lemon juice and cloves in a pot over medium heat and stir continuously till the mix becomes thick (around 20 minutes)
  3. Taste and add more sugar if needed
  4. Sieve in the cornstarch and stir for 2 more minutes
  5. Take off the heat and allow to cool then place in the fridge for 30 minutes

To make the pastry:

  1. Sieve all purpose flour, corn flour, salt and icing sugar into a medium bowl.
  2. In your stand mixer or in a bowl, beat the butter till it turns light in color and fluffy.Add in egg yolks and beat again till it is well combined.
  3. Slowly add in the flour mixture until you get a dough that does not stick to your hands. If the dough is still sticky after adding all the flour,add more flour SLOWLY (one tablespoon at a time) and if it is too crumbly add more butter (again one tablespoon at a time)
    Note: It took me 4 more tablespoons of butter to get the dough to the right consistency

To make your nastar cookies:

  1. Divide the dough into 45 pieces and roll each into a ball
  2. Place a ball in the palm of your hand then use your index finger to make an elongated cavity in the center of each ball. Rotate the ball while you press your finger against the wall of the cavity to make the walls thinner and more even
  3. Add half a teaspoon of the pineapple filling into each cavity then pinch it closed and then shape it into a small roll
  4. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet
  5. Use the back of a knife to make criss cross patterns on top
  6. Brush the unbaked rolls with egg wash mix
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180ºC for 10 to 13 minutes or till the bottoms are golden brown.
  8. If the tops are not golden, place them under the broiler for 1 -2 minutes
  9. Take out of the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool

Best pineapple cookies that I have ever tried.jpg

 

كعك نستار بالاناناس
لتحضير العجين نحتاج:

220 غرام (اصبعين أو كوب واحد) زبدة غير مملحة، في درجة حرارة الغرفة

375 غرام او  (2 1/2 كوب)دقيق متعدد الاستخدامات (يفضل استخدام الدقيق الفاخر او الزيرو)

1/4 ملعقة صغيرة من الملح

2 صفار البيض

50 جرام (6 ملاعق كبيرة)سكر ناعم

2 ملعقة طعام نشا

لاعطاء السطح لمعه و لون

1 صفار البيض

1 ملعقة صغيرة من الحليب المكثف المحلى (اختياري)

1 ملعقة صغيرة خل (لتجنب رائحة البيض)

حشوه الاناناس (من الأناناس الطازج):

250 جرام  الأناناس (اناناسه واحده مقشره و مقطعه)

1/2 إلى 3/4 من كوب من السكر (أو حسب الذوق)

1 ملعقة كبيرة عصير الليمون

5 حبات قرنفل

لتحضير الحشوه من الاناناس المعلب

1علبة اناناس

1/4 كوب سكر

1 ملعقة صغيرة نشا الذرة

5حبات قرنفل (اختياري)

1 ملعقة صغيرة عصير الليمون

الطريقه

لتحضير الحشوه

(من الأناناس الطازج):

نضع الاناناس في الخلاط او محضره الطعام و نفرمه حتى يصبح مهروس

نضع الأناناس المبشور والقرنفل في طنجره ويقلب على نار متوسطة حتى تتبخر معظم السوائل

نضيف السكر وعصير الليمون و نستمر في التحريك حتى يثقل القوام

نتذوقه لنتأكد انه بالحلاوه المطلوبه نضيف المزيد من السكر إذا لزم الأمر.

نزيل حبات القرنفل

نرفع الحشوه عن النار و نتركها لتبرد ثم نضعها في الثلاجة لمدة 30 دقيقة. هذا سيجعل من الاسهل التعامل معها. يمكنكم تحضير الحشوه مسبقا و تخزينها في الثلاجه مده اسبوع.

لتحضير الحشوه من اناناس معلب

نصفي الاناناس و نضعه في الخلاط حتى يصبح مهروسا

نضع الأناناس والسكر وعصير الليمون والقرنفل في وعاء على نار متوسطة ويقلب باستمرار حتى يصبح المزيج سميكا (حوالي 20 دقيقة)

نتذوق ونضيف المزيد من السكر إذا لزم الأمر

نضيف النشا و نحرك مده دقيقتين

نزيل حبات القرنفل و نرفع الحشوه عن النار

نتركه ليبرد ثم نضعه في الثلاجه

لتحضير العجين:

نغربل الدقيق و النشا و الملح والسكر في وعاء متوسط.

نضرب الزبده بالخفاقه حتى يصبح لونها فاتحا ثم نضيف صفار البيض و نخفق ثم نضيف خليط الدقيق تدريجيا حتى نحصل على عجين ناعم متماسك لا يلتصق باليد. اذا كان العجين غير متماسك نضيف المزيد من الزبده (انا احتجت 4 ملاعق اضافيه) اما اذا كان العجين رخوا جدا فنضيف القليل من الدقيق

لتحضير الكعك:

نقسم العجين إلى 45 قطعة و نلف كلا منها على شكل كره

نستخدم اصبعنا لعمل فجوه داخل الكره تماما كما نفعل عند حشي الكبه

نضع القليل من حشوه الاناناس و نغلق الحبه ونعدل شكلها لتصبح اسطوانه

نستخدم ظهر السكين لعمل الشكل من الخطوط المتقاطعه على السطح

ندهنها بخليط البيض

نخبز في فرن محمى في 350F / 180ºC لمدة 10 إلى 13 دقيقة

اذا كان السطح لم يصبح ذهبيا بعد نضعها تحت الشواية

اخراج الفرن وتسمح لتبرد على ورقة الخبز لمدة 5 دقائق ثم نقل إلى رف الأسلاك لتبرد

 

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