Traditional Maltese Figolli

Figolli are a traditional Easter cookie cake with almond filling, decorated with chocolate or icing. Traditionally they were made in the shapes of Catholic symbols related to Easter but nowadays you can find them in all shapes, such as lamb, rabbit, heart, fish, butterfly, cars…

At home, we bake Figolli every year. They are not too hard to make but can take up quite some time to finish. The Figolli are cut using big cookie cutters which you can buy from cake shops in Malta. Since in Budapest Figolli are not a thing, I could not find larger cookie cutters and decided to improvise by cutting cardboard in a lamb shape to use it as a guide to cut the pastry.

Here’s my take on making figolli. While the traditional recipe uses eggs in the pastry, I have a simple recipe for sweet crust pastry that I just love to use whenever I can. Additionally, while many households and store bought figolli prefer to use icing to decorate, we prefer to balance out the sweet, buttery pastry and filling with some nice, bitter dark chocolate.

Figolli - Maltese Easter Cookies

  • Servings: 7 large figolli
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Traditional Maltese Easter cookies, delicious with a cup of tea.


Ingredients

    For Pastry:
  • 1 kg plain flour
  • 250g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 250g margarine (room temperature)
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2-3 tbsp water (if necessary)
  • For Filling:
  • 500g ground almonds
  • 300g powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Start by preparing the pastry. Beat the butter, margarine and sugar together until creamed. Add the lemon zest, vanilla and almond essence.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time and beat until it starts to combine. Continue to form the dough by hand. Leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, sift the powdered sugar and stir in the ground almonds. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and almond essence and mix well.
  4. Beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks. Fold in into the almond mixture until all ingredients are well combined together. This should end up like a dough.
  5. Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the pastry. Use the cookie cutter/cardboard shape to cut out the pastry. For each figolla, you will need 2 identical shapes to act as a sandwich.
  6. Dust the work surface with powdered sugar and roll out the filling to about a centimetre thick. Using the cookie cutter, cut out the filling and trim a centimetre all around the shape.
  7. Place the bottom pastry on cookie/baking sheets. Now put the filling on half of the pastry shapes. Wet the centimetre margin with some water and use the other half of pastry shapes to cover the filling. Seal the edges properly.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven of 175 degree Celcius for 25-30 minutes until golden.
  9. Allow them to cool properly before decorating.

Here are my lamb shaped figolli decorated with dark and white chocolate 🙂

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figolli
figolla
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Wishing you all a blessed Easter! L-Ghid it-Tajjeb! 🙂

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