Daily Domestic – Figolli edition
weather – snow pants in the morning, no coat by the afternoon
house – many things done
Easter prep – 45% we know what we are eating… none is in the house
Last week my mom shared on facebook a picture of Figolli an easter dessert traditional to Malta. While I’m 75% Irish, that other 25% is Maltese and I grew up with my mom’s family who kept many Maltese traditional alive. I even lived in Malta for a semester when I was 13, it was a good experience. One of my aunts made it her mission to make this dessert yearly and I was inspired to try to make it too.
The first step to Figolli (fig-oh-lee) is to skin the almonds. This is maybe why I didn’t make this in the past 20 years… getting the skins off almonds is tedious and I have plenty of memories of being the forced labor to get this done. We took 2 days to get them done but we all pitched in and I finished them up today while on the phone with my mom.
I googled directions and found many places that list them but they all seem to be the same. They also tend to be in metric and vague about method. The first few didn’t even have baking temps?!? In consultation with my aunt she recommended reducing the sugar, baking for 30-45 min at 375 and NOT using almond paste as a short cut.
Here is the recipe, and, my Americanized notes in italic- I’m glad I have a scale!
For the pastry:
- 400 grams butter or margarine – I used butter, this is 3.5 sticks
- 800 grams flour – I used bread flour (higher gluten) and it is apx 6 cups
- 200 grams sugar – I reduced! I used 184g that equals 1 cup
- 3 egg yolks – 3 egg yolks **I actually messed up and added the whites of one
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind – 2/3 of a lemon for me
- Water to mix – I used 2/3c
For the filling:
- 400 grams sugar – used same reduction to 1c
- 400 grams almonds – I didn’t get a different measure on this, just used the g setting.
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water – this is orange juice!!!
- 3 egg whites – 3 egg whites
My method is extrapolated from their scant directions, my recollection from 25 years ago, an aunt who replied to texts, and, general knowledge of baking. The idea is to make a big filled cookie so think ‘cookie dough’ for the pastry and ‘filling’ to get consistencies right.
- Cut butter into flour – I used my ninja blender.
- Add sugar, yolks, lemon. Mix well and slowly add water.
** I ended up mixing using my hand at the end to fully blend. This might have been easier in the kitchen aid.
- Set aside dough to rest while making the filling – I chilled
- chop almonds fine – I used the ninja blender. *warning! do in batches for 10 seconds or less or it turns to paste, you want chunks*
- Whip egg whites – there were no directions on how much so I did a quick mix to a froth
- Mix almonds, eggs, juice and sugar
Roll out the pastry in matching sets (top and bottom). I used sugar instead of flour to keep things from getting too sticky. I also rolled on parchment paper for easier transfer.
Add the filling to the bottom cookie and then put the top on and seal around the edge.
Put in the oven and hope for the best! While this was cooking the smell triggered so many memories I knew I had it right
Once it is firm and slightly brown it is done.
Allow to cool and decorate with royal icing~
(I wrote above this yesterday, this part today) While I was baking yesterday I decided to REALLY bake. I started my bread first and took the 2 hours of rise time to finish blanching the almonds. While the bread baked I did all the mixing so this is actually a quick recipe once you get the dumb almonds blanched. Then I still had a bunch of filling so I tossed it into a batch of breakfast muffins – to balance the recipe I added an extra cup of oats and cut out the oil. So by the end of the day I had a loaf of bread, 4 figollis, and 2 dozens muffins (and by the end I was putting things on the floor since I ran out of counters)
Today I cleaned it all up and I have a feeling Friday I’ll be doing another big kitchen day with easter eggs, decorating the figolli, and maybe some other fun things!