Friday, November 12, 2010

Maltese Pastizzi

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:
2lbs ricotta
2 eggs(beaten)
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!!!


  1. Oh, these sound wonderful. Almost like the Greek spanakopita or tyropita. You're getting me hungry.

  2. I love them but admit I cheat and buy the pastry sheets. I must try making them from scratch though so thanks for the recipe.

  3. My grandma used to always make these, and it was always from scratch. She can't really cook anymore, so I'm really glad I found this recipe and it's so specific. I'm not even sure she ever wrote her recipe down. I must say, when people cheat, they have no clue what they're missing.

  4. Thanks for showing us how to make pastizzi,THEY ARE MY FAVORITE. I live in Canada and I tried pastizzi dough so many times and could never get it perfect,now with this video i will try again

  5. how many does this recipe make?

  6. My fathers family emigrated back in the 20's from Malta and my Aunt used to make Pastizzi like nobody could. My parents attempted it, but Aunt Mary was the best. I've reached a point in my life where I feel the need to replicate the recipe and plan to attempt making them in the very near future. I can also understand the firm recommendation NOT to use pre-made dough, but to make it according to the recipe. You cheat, you miss the boat. And as I recall my Aunt used to make them more in the shape of a submarine, with a little "chimney" in the center of each one. Maybe it helped the cheese cook quicker or just differently.

  7. Guys come to Malta and sample the real thing! As far as I know, pastizzi pastry as you saw in the video clip is something specific to Malta and Maltese immigrants. It is called ghagina tar- rogg. It is in a way similar to puff pastry but instead of folding, the rolling technique is used to get the required flaky layers.

  8. I'm sitting in my flat in Malta, reading this lovely article, as I eat my delicious pastizz tal-pizelli, and I can't help but smile even more. I've been here a month, and I have 4 months left here, and it's taken me all I have not to eat these every single day. They're incredibly cheap (I can buy 2 for €0.60, which is roughly $0.77), and the pastizzeria I get them from gives them to you piping hot and bubbly. They're super flaky, so my apartment floor is kind of a mess. I'm going to have to try this recipe to see if I can replicate them at home. I'm not going to worry if they come out wrong, however, as it's easy to just buy some. :)

    I will say that in order to get the full experience, one must eat them in Malta or from a Maltese relative. These pockets of heaven are seriously one of the best foods I've ever eaten.

  9. One hour is way too long to cook these! Around 25 minutes is what I bake them at.

  10. I want to make these but find so many recipes eith different cheese filling. Please help me by telling me what aside from ricotta cheese is put inside. My friend remembers his dad making them wi th ricotta cheese and eggs but does not remember if there was anything else. As a child he would dip them, while they were still warm, in a bowl of sugar. He is in his 70's now. I want so much to make him smile by making these for him. Please help.


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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.