Saturday, July 13, 2013

Anna Sultana's Imqaret - Deep-fried Date Slices, Maltese Style l Jelly Doughnuts

Some of Ma's recipes were similar to those my Sicilian Aunts cooked.
And some were similar to what our German neighbours cooked.
Hard to believe?
Ma said Mrs. Kekelia's German rouladen reminded her of Maltese bragoli.

But there are a few recipes that we Maltese can claim as strictly our own.
One such recipe is the one for our imqaret.

Imqaret is kind of like a jelly doughnut.
Jelly doughnuts were pretty popular when I was a kid in College Point.
My German friends had plenty of jelly- or custard-filled doughnuts.
They called the doughnuts bismarks, or Berliners, or long johns.
In Manitoba jelly doughnuts are called jambusters.
In Nova Scotia they are called Burlington buns.

Imqaret is a little different.
It is fried with the filling already in it.
And the filling is made from dates, not jelly or custard.
And there isn't any yeast in the dough.
Like I said, it's strictly our own recipe.

And it's way, way better.


If you don't have a deep-frying thermometer, test the oil by slipping a bit of the dough into the oil.  It should sizzle and turn brown in 1 minute.

Orange flower water may be a bit hard to find.
You can substitute more anisette or equal parts orange extract and water.


Makes about 1 dozen slices


Place in a dutch oven
200 grams dates
1 Tablespoon anisette
1 Tablespoon orange flower water
grated rind of 1 lemon
grated rind of 1 orange
grated rind of 1 tangerine
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 Cup water
Simmer for 10 minutes.


In a large bowl place
200 grams flour
25 grams sugar
25 grams lard
25 grams margarine
Rub the fat into the sugar / flour mixture.

1 Tablespoon anisette
1 Tablespoon orange flower water
Mix to make a dough you can roll out.
Add more liquid if needed.
Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. 

Roll out the dough into long strips, about 4 inches wide.
Place some date mixture along half of the strip to within 1/4 inch of the edges.
Wet the edges of the pastry with water and fold the pastry over to cover the filling.
Press the edges well together.
Cut on the diagonal to form diamond shapes.
It won't be like ravioli, in that some of the filling will show in the places where the pastry has been cut.
Don't worry - it won't ooze out.

In a deep saucepan or deep fryer pour
about 2 inches vegetable oil
Heat to 375ยบ on a deep-fry thermometer or test with dough.

Place a few imqaret into the hot oil.
Don't crowd or they won't fry properly.
Fry about 5 minutes.
They should be crisp and golden brown.
Remove the imqaret with a slotted spoon.
Drain on paper towels.
Repeat with the remaining imqaret.

Imqaret are best eaten hot.

A bit of jelly doughnut trivia...
In Germany berliners are traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve as well as during the carnival holidays. 
As a joke they fill some berliners with mustard instead of jam.
Yeah... big yuks.

You can't play any tricks with an imqaret.
You can see what is inside.

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