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Celebrity Maltese Chefs

Bones of the Dead

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Put the ground almonds, sugar, egg whites, essences and grated rind of a lemon in a large mixing bowl. Do not add too much almond essence because it will give the filling a bitter taste.  Mix the ingredients well together until you obtain a fairly dry paste. Preheat the oven 1900C, gas mark 5. Put the pastry on a lightly floured tabletop, roll it out and cut it into oblongs. Put some almond paste in the centre of each oblong.  Wrap the pastry around the filling and mould it into the traditional bone shape.  Tuck it neatly around, trimming off extra bits. Put the ‘bones’ on a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden brown. Remove the ‘bones’ from the baking tray and leave them to cool. Cover them with white royal icing when they are completely cold.

Panedispanja

Preheat the oven 2000C, gas mark 6. Lightly grease and dust with flour a baking dish having a 23cm diameter. Combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl.  Beat for about 10 minutes on the highest speed, until the mixture is white and thick. Use either an electric hand beater or else an electric mixer in order to have a really light sponge.  If you beat the eggs and sugar using a hand whisk, you will never have the same result. Sift the flour and, using a large metal spoon, lightly fold HALF of it into the mixture.Using a metal spoon, add the rest of the flour, half at a time, folding gently, in a figure of eight movement. Pour the mixture in the baking dish.Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the sponge is well-risen and feels firm to the touch.Allow the sponge to stand for 5 minutes before turning it on to a wire rack to cool.

Torta Ricotta Cannolo

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Crush the cannoli shells, reserving 2 for garnishing later on. Mix in the melted butter and press the cannoli mix into the bottom of an 8 inch spring form pan lined with cling film using the back of a spoon to flatten. Chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the gelatin leaves into the juice of an orange and heat up in a saucepan or microwave to dissolve. Whisk ricotta till smooth and creamy then stir in the icing sugar, orange zest, chocolate chips and melted gelatin mixture. Next, whip the cream and gently fold in. Spread the mixture evenly on the cannoli base and allow to set and chill for at least 2 hours. When ready, remove from the cake tin and place onto a serving dish. Decorate the top with the reserved 2 crushed cannoli, orange zest, chocolate chips and pistachios.

Chocolate Gateaux

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Heat the oven at a temperature of between 160 and 180 degree. Grease 2 cake dishes of around 20cm diameter. Mix all ingredients excluding the water, the double cream and the chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Mix well together by a hand blender till consistency is mixed well. Start adding the boiling water a bit by bit until consistency is well mixed and is runny. Add the mixture in the bowls and bake in oven for around 25-35 minutes till well cooked. Let cool down completely. For the icing, melt the chocolate bar in a small pot on low flame and add the double cream. When chocolate is melted remove from the heat and mix with a blender under consistency is slightly thicker. Let cool down completely for around 1 to 2 hours until well thick. Add a thick layer between the 2 cakes and cover the outside of both cakes with the mixture.

Marmurat Tart

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Put the almonds in a heavy bottomed frying pan. Place over medium heat and stir often until the almonds turn golden brown. You can also roast the almonds in the oven. Preheat oven to 1800C, gas mark 4. Spread the almonds in one layer in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn golden. Leave the almonds to cool completely before chopping them in medium sized pieces. Preheat the oven 1900C, gas mark 5. Put all the dry ingredients required for the filling into a bowl and stir them together. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry thinly and line a 24cm diameter, non-stick baking dish with it. If possible, use a loose bottomed tin. This will make it easier to remove the baked tart later on. Press the pastry lightly and firmly all over the base and sides of the tin, easing any overlapping pastry back down the sides, as it is important not to stretch this bit too much. Trim the edges, leaving a small edge of pastry sticking over the edge of the baking dish to allow for shrinkage in the oven. Prick the base all over with a fork and spread some jam over the pastry. Spoon the filling into the pastry case and flat it with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 45 minutes and leave the tart to cool completely before removing it from the tin. Decorate with melted chocolate, almond or sugar paste, royal icing and candied cherries.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganac...

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First will prepare the jelly. Grease a round cake dish of round 20cm and cover with cling film. Squeeze the 4 oranges and keep the rind for afterwards. Put the liquid in a medium sized pan and add the sugar. Place on low flame for sugar to dissolve. Meanwhile put the gelatine in some cold water for some time until it softens. After remove from the water, squeeze, and add to the orange juice. Mix well until it dissolves. Pour mixure into the dish pan and let set for at least 4 hours or overnight. Heat the oven on 140 – 160 degree celcium and cover a cake dish of diameter of 23cm with some cartaforn. Place butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt, flour and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well with an electric blender until you get a smooth consistency. Place mixture in pan and make sure the top is even. Bake in over for around 55 minutes or untill well cooked. When ready, wait for 15 minutes before removing the cake and let cool on cooling rack. For the ganache warm the cream in a small pan until hot. Add the milk and dark chocolate pieces until chocolate melts. Let cool completly. To complete the cake, place it on a cake stand and make sure to have smooth even surface. Warm the jam in the micorowave for a few seconds until consistency is liquidy. Use a basing brush to paste the top of the cake with the jam and afterwards spread the chocolate ganache with a palette. Let some of the chocolate to drizzle with the edges of the cake for a more professional look. Decorate with some grated orange peel and serve immediately.

Maltese Trifle

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Begin by preparing the custard. Put ¾ of the milk and sugar in a casserole. Put it on a moderate heat until it starts to boil. Dilute the custard in the remaining milk and add it to the boiled milk. Cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Remove from heat and leave it to cool. Slice the sponge cake thickly and cover the bottom of a large serving dish with the cut slices. Prepare the strawberry jelly, following the instructions on the packet, using only 2/3 of the amount of water indicated. Pour the jelly mixture over the sponge slices and let them soak. Either add the custard immediately, or else wait until the sponges are well soaked with the jelly. Put the trifle aside until the custard settles. Cream together the fresh cream and the ricotta in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and liqueur and mix well. Spread the ricotta mixture over the custard. Decorate with cherries, halved walnuts or roasted almonds.

Upside Down Fruit Cocktail Cake

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Beat eggs with the caster sugar and salt until fluffy. Sift the flour and baking powder and stir in the mixture. Open the tin of fruit cocktail and pour the fruit and the syrup into the cake batter. Pour into a greased 9 inch square cake tin, sprinkle with the walnuts and the extra 2 tbsp. brown sugar and bake at 175°C for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake. Allow cooling and serve with whipped cream.