In the end, these are the pineapple tarts I settled on for CNY. They are gluten-free, suitable for our gluten-free buddies. I think further tweaking is required - I want to try adding custard powder, and I'd love to try something using rice flour. But still, these turned out okay, and I love making and eating these kuih.
Some other people's (non-vegan) recipes: A Table for Two; Nyonya Food; The Little Teochew.
gluten-free pineapple tarts
The GF flour means that these kuih go stale very quickly, so I have to make the pastry for these on the day I plan to serve them.
half a dozen cloves
500g pineapple chunks (I used a 430g can)
200g (ish) sugar
1 aniseed star
1 tablespoon gf flour (or something starchy)
2 heaped cups gluten-free flour
4 teaspoons icing sugar
3 teaspoons soy flour
1 tablespoon cornflour (make sure this is gf! some are, some are not)
2 shakes of salt
220g nuttelex/margarine (cold)
2 chinese soup spoons of applesauce
1 tablespoon soy milk
For the jam: Press out as much liquid as possible from the pineapple, and then in a saucepan, simmer with sugar, cloves and star anise for between half an hour and fifty minutes, until the pineapple has reduced. Squish some of the pineapple pieces if necessary. Stir in the gf flour, and remove from heat. Leave this to cool for up to a few days (though it is ready to use after a few hours).
For the entartening: Beat together the margarine with the apple sauce. Make sure that you work the margarine from cold, don't melt it or anything. Slowly add the flours, icing sugar, and salt, until just combined. Put in fridge to rest whilst you prepare the jam.
Roll the jam out into little tubes, approx 1.5cm in length. It is easiest if you prepare the jam in this way, so you just pick it up and drop it in the pastry.
When I'm working with the pastry, if it's warm I like to keep an icepack under the mixing bowl, to keep it a bit cooler in my warm kitchen.
Tear off a small amount of the batter, this will vary depending on how moist it has ended up - it needs to be not too moist, but not too dry or it will fall apart and crack too much. Flatten the batter in the palm of your hand, until it is even and looks like it will wrap around a jam dollop. Drop that jam in, and roll the pastry around it. Make sure there are no gaps, or the jam will leak out when baking. Continue until all the batter or jam is used up.
Using a fork, carefully score the surface of the tarts. Combine the remaining apple sauce and milk, and brush on the top.
Bake for 18 minutes at 175C in a preheated oven.