Qassatat tal-Piżelli

Last week, I was really craving some Maltese qassatat. These are the fast food of Malta, along with the pastizzi, square pizza, sausage rolls and various pies. In almost every village you will find that small shop selling these tasty snacks.

A street bought Maltese Qassata tal-Piżelli

I had never made them before, but knowing I would not find something similar here in Budapest, I thought I would give it a try and make them myself.

Traditionally, the qassata is usually a pastry pocket filled with either ricotta cheese or a pea mixture. When we first moved to Budapest, we relied on prepacked supermarket ricotta, which is quite different to what we were used to in Malta. In the meantime, we discovered Orda at one of the cheese sellers, which is a local type of curd cheese and is quite similar to Maltese ricotta.

So I decided to give the pea mixture a go… It can be done with dried peas, fresh peas or canned peas. I only got my hands on canned ones this time but I have to admit that the dried peas give the best taste.

I started by making the shortcrust pastry – recipe here. While this was chilling, I followed on the pea filling. The filling is very easy to make and you can adjust the ingredients according to your taste. It took me some time to make the actual qassatat and achieve a shape that is close to the ‘real’ ones. This is the result on my first attempt… I know they do not look exactly like they should be but they were delicious! And as the saying goes… practice makes perfect… so I am going to keep on trying and in the meantime enjoy these delicious pies! 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

Traditional Maltese Qassatat

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

A traditional Maltese street food recipe.


For the Pea filling:

  • 250g dried peas / 2 x400g canned peas
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 50g green olives, pitted
  • 50g kalamata olives, pitted
  • frozen spinach leaves
  • chili pepper (optional)
  • 2-4 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. If using dried peas, rinse and let them soak overnight. Cook them in a pot of slightly salted water until soft and tender. Set them aside to cool.
  2. Finely chop the onion, garlic, chili pepper, olives and anchovies. In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onion until soft and transparent. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the peas, spinach and egg) and sauté for another minute.
  3. Add the peas and the spinach and combine well. Cook for 10 minutes. Check the seasoning and make sure that all ingredients are well incorporated together.
  4. Remove from the heat and let it cool well before putting it on the pastry.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
  6. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cut in circles 15 cm in diameter.
  7. Put a heaped tablespoon of the filling in the middle of the circle and wet the edges of the pastry with some water. Pleat the edges leaving a gap in the centre. The water ensures that the edges stick together and the pleats remain in place while in the oven. Brush the qassatat with an egg wash.
  8. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Oven time depends on the size of the qassatat and the amount you put in the oven.

My version of Qassatat tal-Piżelli 🙂

12 Comments Add yours

  1. C. Donovan says:

    I am Maltese living in Boston. My husband and four sons are Bostonians who LOVE Maltese food! I will be making these as one of the food items for my granddaughter’s 3 year old birthday party! Good to know other expats still make them.

    1. Marica says:

      Really happy to hear that! 😀

  2. joe grech says:

    I do these regularly and even in the shape of pastizzi with puff pastry. My filling and even here in Malta spinach is not included also olives are not done. Only ingredients are dried peas – if split are used no need to soak like the whole ones – onion garlic sometimes and for that authentic taste the trick is to use a few drops two or three liquid smoke. If not available use a tsp smoked paprika. Egg out. too for a glaze brush with melted butter or margarine/ I live in Malta.
    BTW new posts vegan only are welcomed.

    1. Marica says:

      Hi Joe,
      Thanks for your comment!
      I am Maltese too and the recipe I posted is based on the Qassatat I grew up with. The beauty of traditional recipes is that every family puts their own twist on it!
      Next time I decide to make Qassatat, I will definitely consider your suggestions to recreate Qassatat as close to the ‘original’ ones as possible 🙂

    2. Jess says:

      Hello! How many does it make please? Thanks

      1. Marica says:

        Hi! It all depends on how large you cut the pastry. I guess you will have around 12 small qassatat.

  3. Aneliya Coppini says:

    Grazzi tar-ricetta! 🙂 I’ve just made the mix and will soon start assembling. Although we’re far from Malta, my husband and I can still enjoy these qassatat just in time for Easter!

    1. maricacachia says:

      You’re welcome Aneliya! Hope your qassatat turned out great and you enjoyed your Easter weekend! 🙂

  4. Jennifer Bugeja says:

    Please, how many calories?

    1. maricacachia says:

      Hi Jennifer, Unfortunately I cannot answer your question as I do not count the calories. If you use my wholemeal dough recipe, they are quite healthy compared to the qassatat you can buy on the street.

  5. nicklewis says:

    I love those little stalls and we found them handy whilst out exploring. We’ll be back there in June

    1. maricacachia says:

      Great to hear that! Hope you enjoy your trip in June 🙂

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