Monday, April 4, 2011

Anna Sultana's Figolli recipe / Traditional Maltese Easter Sweet with Royal Icing and Almond Filling with and without eggs

On Saturday I posted the recipe for Carmela Soprano's Easter Sweet Bread.

The picture of the Sweet Bread in Carmela's Entertaining with The Sopranos cookbook inspired me to write a post last year about the Easter Breads of my youth.  

That post was recently included in Dust & Fire, Writing & Art by Women 2011, which was published by the Women's Studies Department of Bemidji State University.   

The Italian Sweet Bread was a major part of my family's Easter Dinner.
Well, the Sicilian part of the family.

When we moved from Corona to College Point, Ma returned to following our Maltese traditions.
For our Easters, she made a Figolli.

As I explained last year, a Figolli is harder to make than an Italian Easter Sweet Bread.
But, it is prettier.
It's more a dessert than a bread.

And it is traditional.
A little weird, but traditional.
That's just our way.


Makes 2 Figolli
grease 2 large baking sheets         
preheat oven to 350ยบ           
bake 15 min., until golden brown 

Color for Easter, in advance
2 eggs
In a large mixer bowl, rub together
1 kilo flour
400 g butter
400 g sugar
1 teaspoon almond or lemon extract
2 eggs
water or milk to make a soft dough

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface.
Knead about 3 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl.
Cover and let it rest about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough.
Roll out 1 cm thick and cut the figolli pairs.
Remember: you will be making a sandwich of each pair. 

Bake 15 minutes or until golden
Remove from pans
Cool completely on a rack

Mix together
200 g ground almonds
100 g confectioners' sugar
100 g sugar
1 teaspoon almond or lemon extract
Add, to make a firm mixture 
2 egg yolks
Knead thoroughly

400 g confectioners' sugar
warm water to make a firm icing
Color different portions of the icing different colors

Take a pair of Figolli, cover the top of one with  
a layer of jam
a layer of almond filling
And put the other identical shape on top

Decorate the Figolli with piped royal icing 
and a decorated egg.

Want to cut down on the eggs?
No problem.
Use this

Mix together in a medium pot
200 g sugar
1/2 Cup water
Bring to a boil
1 teaspoon almond or lemon extract
When mixture 'threads' add
400 g ground almonds
Stir well and remove from heat
Let cool

Now about that mermaid...
That was Ma's traditional shape.
That was the shape of the cutter she used.
I don't know if the shape meant anything special to her.
Maybe she bought the cutter on sale.
Sometimes things become traditional after they've been used a few years.

It's too late to ask her now.

The Figolli can be cut in any holiday shape - a lamb, a basket, a cross.
Just cut a large enough shape to hold the icing and the egg.

And about the egg...
Like I said on Saturday, sometimes kids are turned off by hard cooked eggs.
Green rings and all.
No problem.
You can use a chocolate egg.
Or a few small foil-covered chocolate eggs.

This is a dessert for Easter.
Make something with ingredients the family likes.

Wishing you a Happy Easter!!

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