Easter is an important time of the year for the Maltese, as family and loved ones get together to celebrate the feast. A huge lunch is typically organised among relatives and friends, followed by the exchange and opening of the Easter eggs. But what truly makes the day special and much awaited is the traditional figolli, the mouthwatering Maltese delicacy prepared specifically for Easter.
What makes the figolli so important to the Maltese is the preparation of these sweets, as people get together to bond over an afternoon of mixing and icing.
Here’s a recipe to help you bake the delicious figolli for the special day.
For the pastry
450g unsalted butter
1kg plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Juice of 2 oranges
Zest of 2 lemons and 2 oranges
6 egg yolks
For the almond filling
Zest of 3 lemons
800g pure ground almonds
640g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
5-6 egg whites
For the decoration
Small Easter eggs
- To start off, mix together the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl; then add the butter and work the ingredients together with your hands until you get a breadcrumb-like mixture.
- Now, add the zest of the oranges and lemons with the fresh orange juice and egg yolks – mix everything together. Once you have a smooth soft pastry, wrap it up in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- While you wait for the pastry to chill, you can start preparing the almond filling. Bind all the ingredients together with your hands until the mixture becomes soft marzipan.
- Once the almond filling is ready and the pastry cooled down, it is time to prepare the figolli!
- Put some flour on the surface you are working on, and roll out the pastry to about 4cm thick. Once you have a uniform flat surface, you can cut out the figolli shape with baking cutters (these can vary from rabbit shapes, to eggs, butterflies, hearts and whatever you want). Remember that for each figolla, you will need two identical shapes.
- Repeat the same procedure for the almond filling, cutting out one shape per figolla. Now, brush the pastry shape with a little bit of water, cover the pieces with the almond filling and then brush it with a little bit of water and cover the filling with the remaining pastry shape.
- You can now bake your figolli in the oven at 180 C for approximately 35-40 minutes. Once cooked, let them cool down completely outside the oven before removing them from the baking trays. We recommend decorating the figolli the following day, and you can let your creativity run wild with icing, chocolate and small easter eggs.
It really wouldn’t be Easter without the figolli, so let’s get baking!