Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tiny figolla bites... with recipe

Anyone taking a look at my hands might think I've been dipping my fingers in paint of something of the sort... but all I've been doing is baking and decorating "Figolli"

Nice rows of "figures" ready to be popped into the oven

"Figolli" are a traditional Maltese pastry eaten at Easter time... apparently the name come from a corruption of the word figure (or figuri in old Italian) and usually in the shape of a lamb or something of the sort. Figolli are usually also large... about 7 to 10 inches in lenght (or width, depending on the shape :p )

So what's different about my figolli? Well they're small... tiny actually. Not more than 1 inch across. One bite and they're gone!

I made them by preparing two pieces of dough, on top of the other, separated by the almond filling in the middle, then used cookie cutters to cut out around 250 small figolli.

It did take some time... and patience... but the upside was that I had loads and loads of off cuts, which I baked seperately and we enjoyed even before the "pretty ones" were iced. YUMM!

I packed the figolli in packs of 3, a little ribbon and a home made tag and star.. and off they go, my little ones, on their own into the outside world.

The recipe I used for these figolli was given to me by one of my teachers, Mrs. Nathalie Barbara. I have to say I was not disappointed with the results. I particularly liked the dough, which resulted in a softer figolla than usual.

I made the dough by hand, and it was easy. I love rubbing the flour and the butter together... the smell reminds me of happiness. Maybe it's because it reminds me of my mother, making figolli, when I was a kid... and how happy and excited we were to eat these goodies.

Recipe is below. Let me know if you make it and what results you get.

In the mean time, Happy Easter to all!


Maltese Figolli bites

  • 1.2 Kg flour
  • 400g butter
  • 10g baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla essence
  • 500g sugar
  • 300ml water


  1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter, chopped into small cubes.
  2. Using the tips of your fingers, rub together the butter and the flour until you have a sandy texture.
  3. Melt the sugar in 300ml of water and add the vanilla essence.
  4. Make a well in the flour/butter mixture and gradually add the sugar syrup, mixing well until you have a paste. (Do not worry if the dough is still slightly sticky)
  5. Lightly flour the surface of the dough and wrap in cling film. Place the dough in the fridge to rest and firm up while you prepare the almond mixture.

Almond filling

  • 1Kg Pure ground almonds
  • 1Kg Sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla essence
  • Around 10 eggs

  1. Mix together all ingredients and 9 out of the 10 eggs. Check whether the mixture is completely mixed in (no sugar and almonds remain seperate from the mixture). If required, add the last egg.


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 Degrees Centigrade.
  2. Cut 1/4 th of the dough and divide it into 2. Flour the surface and roll out the 2 parts of the dough into 2 equal peices. Sandwich the almond mixture between the 2 pieces of dough. I prefer to roll out my dough quite thinly and then have a thick slab of almond mixture, but that is up to you!
  3. Flour your cookie cutters and then cut out shaped from the dough/almond paste sandwich. Place these on a tray, lined with baking paper.
  4. Bake the figolli for around 15 to 17 minutes until very lightly browned.
  5. Allow to cool and then ice using your favourite royal icing recipe or use chocolate instead.
  6. Enjoy on Easter Sunday! (Store in an airtight container and they will last for ages.. Although you will have finished them all beforehand!)


  1. Never seen such tiny figollies made with so much patience!!!!!!! And delicious - Reminded me of my loving and never forgotten pa who used to be so gracefully baking and cooking small and tiny delicious food with so much patience. A virtue that seems to be inherited by my niece. Well done!!!!!!!!

  2. I only ever made figolli once - when I lived in the US for a year. I have never found the time to make them since we moved here. Perhaps it's just laziness because usually my mum makes some. I love them though.

  3. @Connie
    Thank you :) I wish I was as patient as Nannu though! He was the king of patience...

  4. @Loree
    :-) There is a definite abundance of figolli around at this time of year... It's enough of an effort to eat them :)

  5. Oh they're so cute and very original too. Never seen any small figolli around.

  6. @Zen
    :) Hopefully we'll see more of these around in the future ;)

  7. They are so pretty! I normally make the larger figolli but I have to say that these are really inspiring :) Thanks for sharing

  8. Sounds like a delicious recipe, and very pretty results as well! Happy Easter :-)

    ~ marie, the EpicureanPiranha

  9. Thanks Marie... Making some more this year. Still thinking about how to decorate them :)

  10. these are really cute, they must have taken you forever! I just stumbled across your blog, looking for some information and it's great! I just started my own food blog, if you'd like to drop by that would be great!

    xx Hannah