If you’re not familiar with Taiwanese pineapple cake (鳳梨酥), which is drastically different than pineapple upside down cake or any pineapple cake outside of Asia, it’s a bite-sized pastry of a jammy pineapple filling with a tender short crust. Taiwanese pineapple cakes fall somewhere between a filled cookie and a small pie, and is not what we commonly think of as ‘cake.’ Traditionally, the outer pastry of a traditional pineapple cake is made of lard, and the filling is mostly made of pineapple mixed with winter melon, but it’s more common now to have a pure pineapple filling. They’re often baked in square molds but you might also find some shaped with more decorative molds.
I grew up eating taiwanese pineapple cake — these square-shaped pastries were often my after school snack or my mom would include two of them in my lunch box. The ones I ate came in a see-through plastic sleeve but in recent years I’ve branched out and tried other versions of Taiwanese pineapple cake. My favourite version of pineapple cake now is a pineapple mooncake! Specifically a pineapple mooncake with the traditional salted egg yolk centre. My family always buy these salted egg yolk pineapple mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival and they’re always the one I go for first (sorry lotus paste!!!). After eating them for years, I decided it’s finally time I create my version of the pineapple mooncake.
I’ve shared Kristina’s pineapple cake recipe on the blog before in celebration of the release of her amazing cookbook, Mooncakes and Milk Bread, and the recipe makes a more traditional pineapple cake. This recipe I’m sharing combines everything I love about the pineapple mooncake with salted egg yolk and my love of a buttery, sandy cookie. It has a classic jammy pineapple filling studded with a salted egg yolk and it’s all encased in a rich sablé-ish cookie crust. The pineapple cakes can be baked in a traditional pineapple cake square mold but I recently bought these pineapple-shaped mooncake molds (!!) which were perfect for this recipe. These pineapple cakes are can be made any time of the year but I’m making extra batches this time of year to gift them to friends for Mid-Autumn Festival.
Salted Egg Yolk Pineapple Cakes
- 2 cans (2 x 398ml cans) crushed pineapple, drained
- 134 g (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 cooked salted egg yolks, halved
- 113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 30 g (1/4 cup) icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 165 g (1 cup + 6 tbsps) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp water
- In a medium saucepan, combine the pineapple, granulated sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thick and caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the filling to a heat-proof container or small sheet pan and allow to cool completely.
- While the pineapple filling is cooling, making the crust.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and icing sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add egg yolk and mix until smooth.
- Add flour and salt to the bowl and mix on low speed until combine, about 1 minute.
- Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, pat into a 1-inch-thick disc, and tightly wrap. Refrigerate the dough until pineapple filling is cool and ready for assembly.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the chilled pineapple filling into 16 equal pieces (use a digital scale if you have one) and roll each portion of filling into a ball.
- Take a ball of filling and using your knuckle or the back of a small spoon, create an indent in the centre. Place a halved salted egg yolk in the middle and cover it with the pineapple filling. Repeat until all the filling has been used.
- Use a bench scraper to divide the dough into 16 equal-size pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a smooth ball. Place the dough ball on a lightly floured work surface, gently flatten with the palm of your hand, and roll out to a 3-inch round with a rolling pin.
- Place a portion of the filling onto the rolled out dough, pull up the edges, and pinch together to seal. If the dough is too sticky, flour your hands when assembly.
- Place the filled cake inside the pineapple cake mold, seam side down, and gently press down with the plunger until it evenly fills the mold. Remove the plunger and transfer the pineapple cake onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pastry and pineapple filling.
- Brush the tops of each cake with egg wash.
- Bake pineapple cakes until golden, about 20 – 25 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.