I remember my mum and Aunty Maria making us Figolli at Easter time. They are giant shortbread biscuits, with an almond filling, decorated with colorful icing in Easter themed shapes. In Malta the kids used to get them as a reward for giving up sweets during Lent. I made them for the first time last year with a lot of help from my mum. This year i made them as a part of World Figolli Day, a virtual event run by my cousin Nanette, The Gourmet Worrier.
- 800 grams of flour
- 350 grams of caster sugar
- 350 grams of butter softened
- 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- Zest of 2 lemons
- Chilled water, you may need a dash to bring the dough together
- 600 grams of ground almonds
- 600 grams of icing sugar sifted
- 4 egg whites
- Zest of 2 lemons or 1 orange
- Optional to add some Lemon Essence. I added the orange zest and a squeeze of the juice as well.
- Royal Icing
- Small Easter Eggs
- Food Coloring
Note: You can decorate them however you like. Nowadays a lot of people use chocolate, but as my mum pointed out, that is not traditional! I made some with icing and some with chocolate.
- Sift the flour and caster sugar into a bowl.
- Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add in the zest and the yolks and start to mix in with your hand. If you need to, add a dash of water and keep mixing until you bring the dough together.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface and kneed a little until the dough is soft.
- Wrap in cling wrap and put into the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Add the ground almonds to a bowl.
- Sift in the caster sugar & make a well in the centre.
- Add the zest, egg whites and any other optional ingredients you have chosen.
- Mix well with your hand until combined.
- You can add a splash of juice if you need to bring the mixture together more. The mixture should not be sticky. If it is, you need to add some more ground almonds.
- Cover bowl with cling wrap and place in the fridge until your dough is ready to roll.
- You don’t want to work the dough much. I found it easier to slice a section of dough at a time. Place it on a floured surface and then roll it out to a height of approx 3mm.
- Cut shapes with a reasonable distance between them.
- Peel back the excess pastry to leave the shapes.
- You will need to cut 2 to make each biscuit.
- Place pieces of almond mix onto the base shape and even out.
- Then lift top onto the filled base.
- Gently press down the sides and reshape if needed.
- Lift onto a baking paper lined tray.
- Brush with milk.
- Cook at 180 degrees for until lightly golden underneath and lightly colored on top.
- They will take about 20 minutes.
- Take out and leave to cool.
- Decorate as you like. Ensure that you store in an airtight container.
Give to people you love! Enjoy!