Taking A Look At Traditional Maltese Easter Foods
Taking A Look At Traditional Maltese Foods
Easter is just around the corner and what better way to spend it than with family, loved ones and good food? Malta has a long history of foods and dishes that were originally created by the Maltese people for the Maltese islands as well as dishes that were internationally and culturally inspired.
We take look at traditional Easter Maltese sweets that are found on the islands during Lent and over Easter.
Kwareżimal is a traditional Maltese sweet that is prepared throughout Lent and can even be made on Easter day. It is a biscuit of sorts finished with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of nuts. The original recipe was made vegan (of course without the addition of honey) as it contained no butter, milk or eggs in the mixture. Present day, some recipes opt for egg whites as it makes the texture lighter and fluffier. If you prefer a vegan version, simply follow the original recipe which excludes egg whites and swap the honey for agave or maple syrup to still achieve that sweet and sticky flavour and texture.
Gluten-free oat flour can also be used to make kwareżimal gluten-free. The beauty of these Maltese traditional Easter treats is that they can simply be made to fit anyone’s dietary requirements and still have their distinct signature taste. When eating kwareżimal, you can expect to taste hints of spiced citrus, orange and almond, as well as the sweetness of the honey (or chosen alternative).
Perhaps everyone’s favourite, figolli is a much-loved Easter treat. They are often shaped into bunnies but are also commonly found in other variations such as easter eggs, butterflies, chickens or hearts to name a few. The dough itself once baked is buttery, slightly crumbly and highly addictive and to literally top it all off, coloured icing is iced atop to not only add colour and a pretty display but to also add a slight sweetness to the figolli. Chocolate and sprinkles are other popular toppings too, should you prefer. If that wasn’t enough to make you want to try a figoli ASAP, they also contain an almond paste filling that adds an even deeper flavour.
Once you bake your figolli, you can store it in cling film for up to a month (if you can fight the urge to not eat all of it before then). Additionally, if you follow a gluten-free diet, you can switch the recipe for gluten-free flour and xanthan gum which will help bind the ingredients together.
Known in English as ‘Apostle’s Ring Bread’, this a specially crafted bread that is traditionally baked for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. It is found in bakeries and supermarkets throughout the Lenten time and is distinct due to its ringed shape and flavour. It is slightly sweet and topped with sesame seeds and almonds.
It is a much-loved and religious food in Malta around Easter time and with its soft centre and crunchy exterior, it is highly enjoyable. The extra added beauty of this bread is due to its very slight sweet flavour quality, a spread of butter or a handful of broad beans compliment the bread as although the flavours contrast each other, the butter or savoury condiment of your choice cuts through and perfectly balances out the flavours.
These little treats are specifically made for Good Friday but can be consumed at any time during Lent. They are made from carob and have a hard texture. Karamilli tal-Ħarrub can be found almost anywhere in bakeries and vendors on the streets who sell a selection of traditional Maltese foods.
Nowadays, Karamelli tal-Harrub are often made using brown sugar but you can still find them with carob. They come prepared in square shapes and are eaten in moderation as the sugar content is quite high. They have a slight tang to them as they are also bursting with the flavours of many spices such as cinnamon, aniseed and cloves.
As much as we love these traditional Maltese Easter foods, it is also important to remember their history and religious importance as they hold a deep and meaningful position in Maltese culture and tradition.