Pastizzi tar-rikotta

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Pastizzi tar-rikotta

Pastizzi tar-rikotta

In Malta, pastizzi are traditionally eaten for breakfast. They are a delicious and hearty way to start the day if you are setting off early. In fact, they are great at any time when eaten fresh from the oven. The most popular and cheapest Maltese street food, pastizzi can be bought from small shops and stalls called “pastizzeriji” which are spread around the island. The two main types are pastizzi “tar-rikotta” (cheese) and pastizzi “tal-pizelli” (peas). These rich diamond-shaped flaky pastries are best eaten hot, with lots of napkins.
Ingredients

– Makes 15–20.
– For the pastry.
– 3½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted.
– ½ tsp salt.
– ½–2⅔ cup (4½–5½oz) lard or butter.
– For the filling.
– 1lb (450g) ricotta.
– 3 eggs, beaten.
– salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Instructions

Step 1: To make the pastry, mix the flour and salt with about 1 cup cold water in a bowl until it forms a soft, pliable but not sticky dough. Knead well, then let rest for about 1½ hours. Set the dough on a floured work surface and cut into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rectangle about 13⁄4in (4cm) wide. Roll, stretch, and pull each one into long strips. Spread half the lard over the entire length of each strip of dough, first with a small metal spatula, then with clean, dry hands. Take one end of one strip of the dough and roll it up like a pinwheel (when rolling it up, do it unevenly—sometimes turning the dough tightly; sometimes more loosely). Repeat with the remaining two strips of dough. Rest the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Step 2: Take the rolled strips of dough out of the refrigerator and roll them flat again on a floured work surface. Spread with the remaining lard. Roll the strips like a pinwheel once again, this time in a different direction from the first roll—all this rolling enhances the flakiness of the finished pastry. Rest the pastry in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). To make the filling, put the ricotta in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mash the ricotta with a fork, then add the beaten egg. Using a sharp knife, cut off pieces of dough 3⁄4–11⁄4in (2–3cm) in diameter. Next, using your fingers and thumb, press down on each ball so that it is a thin flat disc. Put a tablespoon of the seasoned ricotta cheese mix in the middle of each circle. Fold each circle from the top and the bottom to the center, and squeeze the edges of the pastry together with your fingers to seal the pocket (the horizontal ends form into points). Place the pastizzi on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and flaky.

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