Pastizzi are traditional Maltese 'delicacies' made up of diamond shaped pastries filled with either ricotta (pastizzi ta' l-irkotta) or a slightly spicy pea filling (pastizzi tal-pizelli) The pastry is a puff-pastry like dough that I still have to try and replicate!
Sometimes pastizzi are referred to as Maltese cheesecakes or ricotta cheesecakes, a slightly misleading term since cheesecakes are usually sweet not savoury like pastizzi. I have actually found Pastizzi in Australia and Canada, probably thanks to the Maltese emigrants there!
8 oz. flour
6 oz. margarine cut into cubes
6-7 tbs. cold water
dash of salt
The trick here is that everything you use must be cold! If the margerine melts you will not get the desired result.The best working surface for the dough is a slab of marble since marble tends to stay cool. Make sure the dough, working surface and the rolling pin are sprinkled with flour before you start working the dough.Don't turn the dough over while you are working it. Always keep the same surface up. Turn it flat on the board (or turn the board itself) clockwise before each rolling and always in the same direction. This is one of the hardest doughs to make and you may have to try it a few times before you get it right!
Sift flour and salt together. Divide the margarine into half-inch squares. Drop the margarine into flour making sure not to squash them. Mix lightly until all margarine cubes are covered with flour (make sure that the cubes remain intact.) Add some cold water and mix lightly with a knife again making sure that the cubes remain intact. If some flour is left loose, add a teaspoon of cold water at a time until all the flour has been brought together. The resulting dough should be very soft.
Sprinkle the dough and the working surface with flour. Work the dough into an elongated shape using your finger tips. Sprinkle some flour on the rolling pin and roll the dough until it's about eight inches long and not more than five inches wide.
1 - Fold the lower third toward the top. Now fold the upper third toward the bottom on top of the first fold. You should end up with a three-layered rectangle. With light pressure from the rolling pin, seal the three edges.
2 - Remove any extra flour. Now turn the folded dough anti-clockwise so that the right side is at the top. Roll the dough lightly until it is nine inches long and six inches wide.
3 - Repeat steps one and two.
4 - Cover the dough with a damp cloth and store in the refrigerator for twenty minutes.
5 - Repeat steps one through four, four times.
The dough can now be rolled out to the desired thickness.
Another way is following the video posted at the bottom of this recipe. The dough is streched out and then rolled up rather like a jelly roll. Then thin slices are cut and shaped into the pastizzi.
You could also use store bought puff pastry - not quite the same but much easier! A Pastizzi fan would shun your efforts!!!
For the Filling:
salt and pepper to taste
optional: some chopped parsley
Mix the ricotta with the beaten eggs and season
Roll out the dough. Cut into aprox 3" to 3" circles.(or cut slices off the 'jelly roll') Put a tablespoon of the rikotta mix in the middle of each circle.Hold both sides of the circle and bring them together, then pinch the top and bottom so that the ends are in points Put the pastizzi on a margarine greased baking sheet. Bake in a moderate oven (350-425 degrees) for about one hour. The pastizzi should be a golden-brown colour when they're ready.
I found this great video that shows how pastizzi are made! It should make the explanation of how to form them much easier! HOWEVER...the video shows a REAL pastizzi maker who has has years of experience so don't get discouraged!!!