This post is part of a series called A Malteser’s Kitchen, where I ask Maltese culinary bloggers to share their versions of traditional Maltese recipes. This delicious recipe is by the delightful Marie Claire.
I always say that if I had not become a nurse, I would have definitely become a chef. When you think about it, the two professions are not all that different: long hours, extremes of heat and cold, an ugly uniform, a mixed ability team and if you make a mistake, you can easily kill somebody.
I did not become a chef, but I most definitely dabble. And in general I am successful. When I am not, I choose to see the funny side. My qassatat tasted great, but didn’t go according to plan when it came to presentation.
For those not in the know, qassatat are basically little pies filled with either ricotta or spinach and anchovies. I have also come across some filled with mushy peas. The appeal lies in the way you seal these little pies, as they are meant to be twisted at the top and left open, with little pieces of the pastry overlapping each other. This also requires some skill – skill which I do not have. Every time I tried to overlap the pastry, they just burst open again. In the end, it was all I could do not to fling them across the room.
Then I remembered, I am not a professional chef and the whole appeal to home cooking is precisely that fact. They will still be eaten, whether they look beautiful or not.
When I write about food, I do not usually include a recipe. My food blog is not about how others make food, but how food is a way of life and how something as essential as nutrition is a big part of how we spend our time. And like anything that we spend time on, we experience an array of emotions and it is precisely that which I try to document.
However this time I will make an exception:
- The pastry should be shortcrust.
- pre-heat the oven at 200 fan assisted
- For the filling, if using ricotta, mix 500grms ricotta with some salt. If using spinach, boil it and drain it properly, mix in a few capers, olives and tinned anchovy fillets and a good dash of salt and pepper.
- Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cut out rounds 10cm in diameter.
- In the middle of each round, put a large tablespoon of filling, and close up the round by twisting the tops forming a kind of purse (this is the hard part, I made a tremendous cock up of it)
- Brush with egg wash and cook for 35mins.