These two Christmas Sweets recipes from the Maltese islands are different than your usual festive sweets.
Qaghaq ta’ l-Ghasel or Honey Rings as they’re called in English, are by far Malta’s favourite traditional Christmas dessert. Although not excessively difficult to make, they take quite a lot of patience and time to prepare. You can buy these delicious pastries all year round from confectionaries but they are mostly consumed during the Christmas season.
Qaghaq ta' l-Ghasel (Honey Rings) - simply heavenly!
Another local Christmas specialty is the Imbuljuta. This is a sweet chestnut soup that was very popular in the old days and was taken as a dessert on Christmas. Its popularity has wavered during recent years though.
If you want to try something different this holiday season, check out these two traditional Christmas dessert recipes from the tiny island of Malta. We guarantee that the honey rings will become a family favourite in no time :)
(for the pastry)
400 grams (or 14.10 oz) flour
75 grams (or 2.64 oz) semolina
1 egg yolk
100 grams (or 3.52 oz) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
(for the filling)
400 grams (or 14.10 oz) treacle
150 grams (or 5.29 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon chopped candied fruit
Grated rind of an orange or tangerine
Grated rind of a lemon
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon aniseed liqueur
A little semolina
Pinch of cloves
2 cups of water
Sieve the flour in a bowl with the semolina. Rub in the unsalted butter and pour in the egg yolk and sugar. Mix and knead well to form a dough. If necessary add some water.
Tip: You can make the pastry beforehand and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to do the filling.
Mix all the ingredients except for the semolina in a saucepan. Bring to the boil slowly and simmer. Add semolina gradually to the mixture until you get a thick consistency. It is very important that you keep stirring the mixture constantly. Let the mixture cool down before continuing.
First roll out the pastry thinly. Cut it in rectangles (approx. 20 cms x 8 cms). Now take some of the filling and place down the middle of the pastry rectangles strips and form into cigar like strips. Then roll the pastry over the filling and bring the ends together to form a ring. Cut short slits into the pastry at intervals. While baking, some of the filling will come out of these slits and transform the rings into attractive black and white rings.
Put the rings into a floured baking tray. Bake in a moderate oven until the pastry is barely coloured (usually takes some 20 minutes).
400 grams (or 14.10 oz) dried chestnuts
175 grams (or 6.17 oz) sugar
50 grams (or 1.76 oz) drinking chocolate
Zest of orange or tangerine
Wash the chestnuts thoroughly and place them into a pan full of water. Leave them to soak for about 10 hours.
Boil the chestnuts using the same water. Add the rest of the ingredients and leave to simmer until the chestnuts are tender. Serve very hot.
We hope that you try our two Christmas sweets recipes and experience a taste of Malta this Christmas.
Il-Milied it-Tajjeb :) ... That’s Merry Christmas in Maltese.