Maltese Figolli Recipie

lifestyle · Uncategorized

The Maltese Figolli is a traditional Easter cookie filled with the flavors of almond, lemon, vanilla and butter. This cookie holds a special place in my heart because it is connected with my grandfather and my culture.

When I was a little girl, we would go to my grandparents house for Easter on Long Island, New York. While the Easter Bunny gave us Easter baskets filled with the usual American Easter treats, it was my Nannu’s  figolli that I looked forward to receiving .

My Nannu,  Anthony Mallia (nannu meaning grandfather in Maltese), was the yearly figolli maker. He would do it in hiding. None of us would know which shape we would receive. We would not be allowed in the downstairs living room where the figollies were laid out across the pool table. Finally, after all the family had arrived, we would be ushered down stairs and he would tell us which figolli was ours.

Here I am obviously very happy about the figolli that was mine! My Nannu is the guy in the middle. My dad is on the left.

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Cars, baskets, and guitars were the shapes that year.

I remember walking around the table looking at each figolli cookie, picking out my favorite and hoping that it was mine. Nannu caught on after a few years that my favorite shapes were the basket and the heart, and he always had one for me. The other shapes I remember were guitars, cars, and fish.

Each was decorated in its own way and they  held one chocolate egg in the center, as is tradition.

As I grew up, I was able to watch my Nannu make the figolli for the younger children in the family. His hands were as thick as a baseball mitts as they would gently hold a thin paint brush and stroke the color onto the icing. He took pride in them as he did with everything he did and everyone he loved.  My Nannu Tony has since passed, and I took up the tradition of making the figolli for my family.  I think he’d be impressed, but also he’d think his were better. He was a guy who like to bust some chops.

To make these you will be making the cookie dough, the filling and the icing. It really is simple.  I will show you the steps and ingredients here. There is also a printable text only version at the end of the post.

You will also need your cookie cutter or a parchment paper template that you can draw and cut out. I can only find these cutters in Malta. I now have a good supply of shapes, but the first year I didn’t have any. I simply cut out a pattern on parchment paper and used that as my template. I stuck to the easy shapes that year like eggs.

figolli cookie cutters
Figolli Cookie Cuttters in traditional shapes

The Dough is a simple recipe.

7 cups all purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

3 3/4 sticks of butter

4 egg yolks (set aside whites for filling)

1/2 cup orange juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp almond extract

Combine all ingredients. Dry first, followed by wet. The mixture will form into a ball.

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Roll out dough. Each cookie needs two sides, the top and the bottom. So make sure you cut out two of every shape. The thickness should look like this. You can choose to roll out dough onto parchment paper to make transfer onto cookie sheets easier.

figolli
figolli

Which leads us to the filling.

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup of granulated sugar

14 oz ground almonds

4 egg whites (that you reserved earlier)

1/2 tsp almond extract

lemon zest

Using a mixer. Mix it to a paste.

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Now using a spoon place the filling on top of the bottom layer of your dough. Leave a good amount of edge clear of filling for easy closure. The thicker shapes like the egg, and fish are easy to fill and use more filling. Shapes such as the cross or basket will use less filling.

 

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Wet your finger with water and smooth it over the edge. Lay your top layer on top and press the edges together.

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Once it is sealed, it is ready for baking.

Bake the cookie at 350. Bake until golden. About 30 minutes.

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With the left over dough and filling, I make an extra, just as a rectangle, to nibble on as I ice the rest. This is what it looks like when you slice into it. I cut it into the shape of biscotti. It’s great with a cup of tea or coffee.

figolli
figolli

Now it is time to ice them.

First you want to make your piping icing. This is for your outlines. If you want to get fancy and make flowers or basket weaving, you will also use this icing.

Royal Icing

3 TBS meringue powder

4 cups powdered sugar

5 TBS warm water (adjust the water to get the desired consistency)

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp lemon extract

Play around with flavors here. You can use lemon, or vanilla instead of, or in addition to, the almond extract. Adjust extract measurements.

Pipe your cookies.

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Now you will make the rest of the decorative icing. It’s the same icing as before. You just add more water or squeezed fresh lemon juice. Also, at this point, separate your icing into the amount of different colors you will be using, and tint your icing to those colors. I use separate ramekins for each color however, I just came across a picture I had taken of my Nannu’s baseball mitt hands icing the figolli. No wonder that image stands out to me. You can see that he used a muffin tin to separate his colors. Great tip!

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I like to use a spoon and toothpick to place and maneuver my icing where I want it. I did have some drips. Every year there are less and less so woo hoo improvement!

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That is it! You are done. It really is simple to do. Make a cookie, make a filling, make it pretty. Add a chocolate egg (which aesthetically doesn’t make sense but well, it’s tradition.)

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figolli
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figolli
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figolli

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Maltese Figolli

Maltese Figolli

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 7 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 3/4 stick butter
  • 4 egg yolks (set aside whites for later)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • Filling
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 14oz ground almonds
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • lemon zest from one lemon
  • Icing
  • 3tbs meringue powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 5TBS warm water (adjust as needed)
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (play around with flavoring here. Maybe add lemon or no almond just lemon. find what works for you.)

Instructions

  1. For the dough
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in mixer.
  3. Mix in butter followed by wet ingredients.
  4. roll out dough and cut two of ever shape ( cut onto parchment paper for easy transfer)
  5. For the filling
  6. mix all the ingredients into a paste.
  7. place paste onto bottom dough layer.
  8. leave edge clean for room to close
  9. wet edge using finger dipped in water.
  10. place top layer of dough on top
  11. press edges together
  12. bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden
  13. For the icing
  14. mix ingredients together
  15. pipe outline onto cookies
  16. add water to make the flooding icing
  17. separate icing into as many colors as you will be making and add color.
  18. using spoon and toothpick place color on figolli
  19. place chocolate egg on top
http://tessavalletta.com/2016/03/maltese-figolli-recipie/

2 thoughts on “Maltese Figolli Recipie

  1. Thank you Tessa ,I do cut out my figures too and it is such a tradition for my family ,they love them and i make extra for thier friends, When youare Maltese , you are maltese.it was lovely to look at you web site .
    Thank you.
    Malta mary.

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