Traditional Cookies

Nastar, Pineapple Cookies

Pineapple cookies are traditional treats in Indonesia and some of its neighboring countries. They are called “nastar”, which is an abbreviation for pineapple tart in Indonesian language. These cookies are filled with spiced pineapple jam and they are popular for their melt-in-the-mouth texture.


The popularity of pineapple cookies cannot be beaten by these crunchy cheese sticks (kastengel). They are both festive cookies that Indonesian normally has in their home during Christmas, Chinese new year, and Ramadan. If you are looking for fruity sweet cookies, I suggest trying nastar as it will not disappoint. If you prefer savory cookies, kastengel is definitely a must-try. But I have to warn you, they are both dangerously addictive.

It’s best to choose sweet pineapple for this recipe so there is no need to add more sugar to balance the sourness. The one that is less juicy, thus firmer also produces a nice shredded texture when we grate it. If using a food processor, try not to overmix to preserve this texture.

The labor of making these cookies can be stretched through several days. I like to make the pineapple jam the day before baking (or even a week prior). This jam is cooked until reduced with a good amount of sugar so it is meant to last long. After the cookies are baked, they can even be stored for up to a month with a closed lid at room temperature.

This is why my family back in Indonesia usually has so many jars of nastar and other cookies when celebrating the Chinese new year. We would serve them to relatives and friends that visited during the holiday. Then, there are always some leftover jars that we would happily pace ourselves eating through a month or so. It is such a highlight of celebrating the new year back home.


Pineapple jam

  • 500 g pineapple without peels
  • 3 g whole cloves *optional or adjust to taste
  • 1 cinnamon stick *optional or adjust to taste
  • 150 g granulated sugar

Cookie dough

  • 37 g unsalted butter
  • 37 g margarine
  • 30 g icing sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 15 g custard powder *can replace with cornstarch
  • 120 g all-purpose flour

Egg wash

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) sweetened condensed milk


Pineapple jam

  • Grate the pineapple or blend it with a food processor. Transfer the shredded pineapple and its juice along with cinnamon stick and cloves into a heavy-bottom pan. Cook over medium heat and stir occasionally until the liquid is gone.
  • Add sugar and continue cooking until it has a thick jam consistency but with no liquid. Keep stirring towards the end so it does not burn.
  • Remove from the pan and cool it to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (up to a week). It will become easier to handle and less sticky.
  • Divide the pineapple jam evenly into 32 pieces (6g each). Roughly roll each into a ball. Refrigerate until needed.

Cookie dough

  • Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and margarine together for 1 minute on medium speed. Add sugar and beat for another minute just to combine.
  • Add egg yolk and mix briefly for 10 seconds. Then sieve the custard powder and flour into the bowl. Mix until it forms a uniform dough. If the dough feels sticky, add a little more flour (1 teaspoon at a time). Add butter if it’s dry. It should be easily formed into a ball without crumbling or sticking.
  • Divide the dough into 32 pieces (8g each). Shape each into a ball.
  • Press the ball in between your palms to make a thin disk. Place 1 piece of pineapple jam on the center. Wrap it and pinch the edges closed. Roll it back into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 300°F (150°C) for 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before applying egg wash for the second bake.

Egg wash

  • Whisk together all of the ingredients to fully combine.
  • Brush each of the cookies with the egg wash. After the first coat has set, apply a second coat. These multiple coats will conceal any visible cracks and create a shiny yellow crust.
  • Return into the oven at 325°F (160°C) and bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly brown. Let cool then enjoy!

One thought on “Nastar, Pineapple Cookies

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