Today we are sharing a well-known traditional Maltese sweet, perhaps a new discovery for our followers from oversees. One of my fondest memories when it comes to Easter is “helping” my grandma Bice making the Easter Figolli. I will never forget the table covered in flour amongst other ingredients. I used to love that mess and the smell of almonds and dough baking in the oven. Heaven:)
Later she used to place on the table an impressive number of these almond cakes in a variety of forms and shapes (most of the time symbolic shapes) and cover them in chocolate or royal icing. Obviously being a chocoholic I used to have mine in chocolate:) As a finishing touch she would decorate the Figolli with tiny edible silver balls and an Easter egg in the middle.
This year I have tried to go back in time by making the Figolli with my mum and my sister in law Maria. I couldn’t resist trying a piece with a cup of coffee and it tastes delicious, maybe not the same as my grandma`s but it’s close enough. This time we experimented a little bit with the decoration, but we have tried to keep it traditional as much as we can. Up to a few years ago in Malta, children (including me) used to take their Figolla with them to the procession of the resurrection Christ on Easter Sunday and when the statue was passing by, they would start shouting with the Figolla held up in their hands, “Bless it for me!”. Sadly this sort of enthusiasm for simple rituals such as this is a rarity nowadays, however it is still a sweet and fond memory of mine.
We hope that you will enjoy and try our recipe so you can share it with your families and loved ones, and you have a peaceful and happy Easter.
EASTER FIGOLLI RECIPE
800g plain flour
400g butter, cut into pieces
1 lemon/orange (grated zest)
dark, milk or white chocolate (you can decorate your Figolli in the traditional way, with Royal Icing)
600g pure ground almonds
2 drops of almond essence and vanilla essence
600g icing sugar (sifted)
Grated zest of one lemon
4 egg whites
Sift the flour into a bowl, add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips.
Add the Sugar and the lemon/orange rind and mix.
Mix in the egg yolk and gather the ingredients into a dough.
Knead the pastry and cover the pastry in cling film and leave it in a coll place for 30 to 40 minutes.
In the meantime mix together the ground almonds, essence, sugar and lemon rind in a bowl. Add the egg whites and mix well.
Roll out the pastry over a floured surface and cut the pastry into shapes (using figolli cutters)
You will need to pastry shapes for each figolla. Place 3/4 tablespoons of almond mixture on 1 pastry shape . Moisten the edges of the pastry with a little water water and then top with another pastry shape.
Press down to seal the edges together well.bake in a moderate and to slightly hot oven for 35 minutes (until the figolli are golden)
Brush the melted chocolate over the cooled figolli (2 coatings) Decorate with easter eggs, sweets, vermicelli, etc…
Have fun and and be creative when you decorate your Figolli:)
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