Monday, November 16, 2009
Nastar (Cookies with Pineapple Filling)
People usually translate "nastar" into "pineapple tart cookies" or "pineapple jam cookies". Somehow I don't agree with that word "jam" - in my opinion, a jam is fruit puree gelled with pectin. While in this case, the pineapple is cooked with sugar until caramelised. "tart" is not really appropriate in my case. In others it might be, as some people like to take shortcuts - they roll out the cookie dough to line small tart pans, fill it with caramelised pineapple, then bake it together.
I myself prefer the old-fashioned version, that is, the ones shaped as filled cookies. That's just how they have always been since I was little... and will always be. I think it's just the memories that count.
Speaking of memories, these cookies are categorized as holiday cookies. I have no idea how it began, but these are the must-have cookies at Christmas and Eid-ul Fitr - the two most celebrated holidays in Indonesia. I am pretty sure the reason is because this is not easy to make - the shaping and filling part got me backache. If one day I need to do this in a large batch, I will make sure I am sitting down while doing it.
For the pineapple filling:
1 can (440 gr) crushed pineapple, DO NOT drain
150 gr sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1. Dump everything into a medium saucepan. Cook until caramelised, mashing the pineapple gently.
2. Transfer into a bowl and cool. Shape into small balls and place on a baking paper-lined baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until needed.
- 1 (440 gr) can of pineapple usually contains 50% (around 200 gr) of pineapple. So if you have access to fresh pineapple and don't mind all the skinning and pureeing, please do use the fresh one
- If you are lazy like me and decide to use the canned version, do not ever drain the juice or you will lose most of their flavor
- You don't have to roll them into small balls in advance, but I strongly recommend doing that to prevent sticky hands while you are filling the cookies later on
For the cookies:
125 gr butter, chopped, cold
25 gr powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
150 gr plain flour
25 gr cornstarch
1. Mix butter and powdered sugar on medium speed. Do not overmix - we don't want to incorporate too much air.
2. Add yolk and mix well. Sift together flour and cornstarch. Mix on low until combined.
3. Take 10 gr of dough and flatten it. Place one pinapple ball on the center and enclose with the dough. Place on a lined baking tray - cover with plastic wrap if necessary, to prevent the cookies drying out. Repeat until dough is used up. Do NOT brush them with egg wash (recipe follows) prior to baking.
4. Bake in preheated 180 C oven for 10 minutes. Take out and brush with the egg wash. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the tops are nicely browned.
1 egg yolk
1 tsp milk
1 tsp honey
1. Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl. Make sure the honey is dissolved well and the mixture is no longer lumpy.