Celebrity Maltese Chefs and Recipe Enthusiasts
ALEXANDRINA ‘S TART
For the pasty, in a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, butter and salt. Add the beaten eggs and form a dough. Wrap this dough in cling film and place it in the fridge for about 2 hours.
For the filling, in a bowl mash the Irkotta and mix with it the chocolate, 6 tbsp sugar, hazelnuts and cherries. In another bowl mix the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and juice, milk, 6 tbsp sugar, eggs and coconut.
To assemble tart, line 2 cake tins 25cm by 18cm. Cut the pastry in two and roll each piece on a lightly floured surface. Roll it open enough to cover the bottom and sides of the tins. Prick the bottom with a fork and place the two tins in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200c. Cover the dough bottom and sides with baking paper and weigh it down with dried beans or rice and bake for about 12 minutes. Remove the baking paper with the beans or rice and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool a little. Trim the edges. Divide the irkotta mix between the 2 tins and spread it evenly over the pastry. Mix the bread mix and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes. Let the tarts cool completely and place them in the fridge. For the topping, whip together the ingredients for the topping until forming a thick consistency.
To decorate, cover the top of the tart with cream leaving some to do the design on top. One could also spread some crispy dried fruits or spread some melted chocolate. Keep this tart in the fridge.
Ombre Lemon and Poppy Seed Pancake ...
Place the ricotta, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl and mix together until smooth. Place into the fridge to chill. For the pancakes, sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the salt, sugar. poppy seeds and lemon zest. Place milk, eggs and vanilla into a bowl and whisk together. Pour the liquids into the flour mixture along with three tablespoons of melted butter and whisk together until smooth. Heat a little extra butter in a small pan and fry 2 pancakes. Take a small amount of batter, adding in more pink and lilac colouring to the batter each time. When the pancakes are all cooked and cooled down, layer on a serving dish with the ricotta filling, decorate the top with the fresh berries and a dusting of the icing sugar.
Grease a loaf tin, or else line it with moistened baking paper. Roll out the pastry quite thinly on a lightly floured surface and line the loaf tin with it. Leave some pastry for the top. Preheat the oven 1800C, gas mark 4. Cut a number of thin slices of sponge cake and spread some apricot jam on them. Use these slices to cover the bottom and sides of the pastry, jam side facing the pastry. Put the ricotta in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and liqueur and mix well until you have a creamy texture. Quarter the cherries and add them, together with the vanilla essence and the grated lemon rind, to the ricotta mixture. Mix well. Cut some more slices of sponge cake. Fill the loaf tin with the ricotta mixture. Smooth the top and cover it with the sponge cake slices. Spread some more jam on them. Moisten the edges of the pastry with a little water and cover with the remaining pastry. Seal well and trim the edges. Make some slits in the top, brush with beaten egg and bake for around 60 minutes. Leave the Sinizza to cool completely before removing it from the tin and slicing it.
Prepare the sweet shortcrust pastry. Preheat the oven 1800C, gas mark 4. 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. If you will be using baking paper, moisten it slightly before lining the tin. 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 pastry’s bottom and sides a few times with a fork. Core, peel and slice the apples according to your taste. Place the sliced apples in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, lemon rind and sultanas and mix well. Fill the baking dish with the apple mixture. Moisten the edges of the pastry with a little water. Cover completely the top with the remaining pastry, or else cut the pastry in strips and form a grid with them. Seal well and trim the edges of the tart. Make some slits in the top and brush with beaten egg. Bake for around 50 minutes, until the pastry gets a rich, golden colour.
Chocolate Swiss Roll
Warm the oven at 235C, gas number 8. Sieve the flour together with the chocolate powder. Grease a rectangular dish, of 45cm long by 38cm wide, with a little margarine and cover the bottom with a piece of baking paper. Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence in an electric mixer and work until the mixture turns white and thickens like a cream. You can also use an electric hand beater. Add the glycerin and continue to mix. Gradually add the flour little by little to the mixture while beating all the time. IMPORTANT: NEVER throw in all the flour at once! Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and see that its height is the same allover. Cook for about 4-5 minutes. Take the sponge out of the oven, remove it from the dish and place it face down on a napkin until it cools. For the filling: Put 2 jars of fresh cream or half of the UHT cream in a bowl and stir well. UHT cream is better to fill the Swiss roll. Cover the sponge with this cream and roll it. Place the Swiss roll in the fridge for at least two hours. In the meantime. melt the chocolate in the microwave or a bain-marie. It is very important that neither water nor steam come into contact with the chocolate and that you do not cover it whilst melting. If you use chocolate that is button-shaped and not block-shaped, it will melt much faster. Place the remaining 2 jars of fresh cream or UHT cream in a saucepan and heat over a moderate heat. Add the melted chocolate and mix well. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool. Beat the cold cream well with an electric hand beater or mixer. Take the Swiss roll out of the fridge, place it on a large, oblong plate and cover it with this cream. Put it back in the fridge for at least two hours. Take out of the fridge and scratch the surface of the chocolate with a fork to make it look like a tree trunk (see photo). Sprinkle some icing sugar on top and decorate with Christmas decorations.
Sponge Flan Filled with Ricotta
Prepare a sponge flan according to the sponge recipe. Put the ricotta and sugar in a large mixing bowl and mash them well until the mixture turns creamy. If you see that the ricotta is rather dry, you can add some milk or cream. Put aside from 2 to 3 tablespoons of ricotta for decoration. Add the candied peel and chocolate chips to the sweetened ricotta and mix well. Add the lemon rind and grated nutmeg and mix well again. Put the flan on a large, flat serving dish. Moisten the top of the flan with any liqueur of your choice. Fill the flan with the ricotta mixture. Spread the extra ricotta on the edges of the flan and sprinkle the toasted nuts on it. Finally, decorate with the red and green candied cherries. Cool it in the fridge before serving.
Bones of the Dead
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.
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.