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Traditional Maltese Easter Sweets: Roberta Preca's Figolli

Roberta Preca of Tal-Familja Restaurant in Marsascala makes the traditional Easter Figolli with us in honour of World Figolli Day. Mona Farrugia introduces.

Traditional Maltese Easter Sweets: Roberta Preca's Figolli


Main Ingredient Almond
Preparation Time 2 hours
Cooking Time 30 mins
Course Easter sweet
Recipe Serves 1
Recipe Type Traditional: Maltese
Gourmet Worrier, who is half Gozitan and half Maltese, born and bred in Melbourne, decided to start a World Figolli Day. We at can't think of a more fabulous thing to do so we have joined in and joined up with the gorgeous Tal-Familja sisters to present you this amazing recipe.

Over the years, Figolli, being a bit of a kerfuffle to prepare and finish, have been usurped by huge production companies who present us with horrendous, dry and fake versions of our traditional Easter biscuits.

Figolli need a light and butter pastry and a gooey and fragrant filling. Stick to the genuine ingredients and Roberta's recipe and you should be fine. Moreover the process, not just the eating, is really wonderful. Dedicate a couple of hours to making them, letting the pastry rest, filling and baking them. Bring the children into the kitchen and let them mess around with the decoration and the eggs; this is not the time for being anal and there will be mess. It is part of the fun.

So is not eating them before Easter Sunday. You need to keep them aside and feel what it is like to not have something the moment it cools down. Call it 'sacrifice' or just a bit of restraint; whatever it is, we need loads of it these days and so do our children.

Oh, and Figolli are absolutely a gift-giving sweet. You do not make one. You make loads and give them away. Only in your case, nobody will be saying 'oh god no...not that hard bit of brick again...' and cringeing. They will be happy.


For the pastry:
350 grams caster sugar
800 grams plain flour, sifted 
400 grams butter
Grated rind of 1 lemon
4 egg yolks, beaten

For the almond paste:
600g Ground almonds (if pure Figolla come nicer)
600 g caster or icing sugar
2-3 egg whites
Grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange 
Preheat the oven to 200C

To make the pastry:

Mix the sugar with the flour, then rubbing in the butter until the mixture comes to fine crumbs.
Add the grated lemon zest and the yolks, mixed with a little water to make a pliable dough.

Put into fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To make the almond filling

  1. Add the sugar, orange zest and lemon zest to the ground almonds then add the egg whites.
  2. Roll out the pastry and cut out your shapes. Make two of each figure as the top will be closed with the bottom one.
  3. Lay the first shape on a greased and floured baking tray. Then spread the almond paste in the centre of the shaped dough. Do not forget to leave a small margin all the way round as this needs to be pressed together and closed.
  4. Lay the second shape over the top and press the edges together. It helps if you wet the edges with a pastry brush to ensure closure.
Bake at 200'C for 5 minutes, then at 180'C, for about 20 minutes, until pale golden.

Cool on the tray.

When cold, coat with glacé icing, or melted chocolate then decorate with royal icing in a different colour, but nothing too gaudy.

While the icing is soft, press a small, foil-wrapped Easter egg in the middle of each shape.

For more information please contact Roberta or Ramona on 21632161 or 99053724

e-mail : info@talfamiljarestaurant. com


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