Tag Archives: kwarezimal

Kwareżimal – a traditional Lenten recipe

Kwarezimal (6567)

I must apologise for my long absence! I cannot believe I have not written anything for you here since the 20-something of February. I was in Malta for a short while, enjoying the sunshine. I needed it. (It’s a glorious day today, so I’m done complaining.) Before I left though, I spent most weekends in the kitchen, trying new recipes and also cooking some old ones, which are still going strong. The saying goes if something ain’t broken, don’t fix it. However a little while ago I promised you a good recipe for Kwareżimal, and after a few adjustments here it is. This is the perfect time to try it out.

Kwarezimal (6566)

Kwareżimal is a traditional Maltese biscuit widely found on the island during Lent. The authentic recipe, for lack of a better word, has no eggs and no butter. No one fusses too much about fasting anymore, (few people avoid sweets for 40 days) and anyway, I think that one egg for binding doesn’t do any harm. I use plain flour together with ground almonds, which makes the recipe less of an expense. If you love almonds as much as the Maltese do, then this one’s for you. Makes 4 large rectangular shaped cookies.

  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon orange oil (substitute this with orange flower water if you prefer)*
  • golden syrup, slightly warm for brushing the tops
  • enough flaked almonds to cover the surface of the biscuits

Preheat the oven to 190 ºC and line one or two baking trays with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, place the flour, ground almonds, caster sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and lightly mix with a spoon or a whisk.

Add the beaten egg, vanilla extract, lemon zest and orange oil* and continue mixing, using your clean hands. The mixture will turn into a fragrant dark-ish dough.

Place the biscuit dough onto a floured surface and divide it into 4 rectangular pieces, placing these onto the prepared baking tray as you go. Brush the surfaces with the golden syrup, slightly warmed into a more liquid consistency, and sprinkle the flaked almonds.

Bake for around 20 to 25 minutes, till they turn slightly golden. Take them out of the oven when they feel a little soft to the touch.

This is such an easy one to make. Good, easy with minimal cleaning. What more could you ask for? Enjoy!

Rob x

Easy Almond Biscotti

Kwarezimal-(5471)

Kwareżimal is a Maltese traditional biscuit made and eaten during Lent. Even though many have abandoned the idea of fasting during the forty days (quaresima) leading up to Easter, these simple bakes are still widely found throughout the island on shops and in homes. My friend M makes wonderful kwareżimal which I cannot get enough of. However what I will give you now is something a little different…

What I have for you here is less of a kwareżimal, and more of a biscotti. It wouldn’t be fair to call them otherwise, mostly because these babies contain eggs and butter; it is more a matter of convenience than anything else. I have taken the liberty of naming them “Cheat’s Kwareżimal” though, hoping not to offend anyone here! I have no idea why I tend to eat almonds (and/or bake with almonds) after the Christmas period. They may be rich but in my mind they are still healthy and good for you.

J came up with this recipe while we were still in MI, and since it always works well for us I decided to leave the measurements in cups rather than grams, as they are in my notebook. To be honest I prefer this way of measuring. For me, it’s quicker and more convenient (and I have an affinity for it because that’s the way I learnt) especially when you use large glass containers for storing baking ingredients. I cannot do this anymore due to the lack of storage space in my kitchen, but I know that one day I will find a way to do this again…eventually that is.

OK, enough talk and let’s get down to the really fun stuff…For 4 large rectangular-shaped portions you will need:

  • 2 cups soft light brown sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups flaked almonds
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten as egg wash
  1. Preheat the oven to 175 ºC/350 ºF and line two large baking trays with parchment or baking paper.
  2. Place the sugar into a large mixing bowl together with the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and almonds and lightly mix these before adding the softened butter. I would recommend using your hands for this (clean, of course!). You risk breaking the flaked almonds if you use a mixer on high speed and I like to see the almonds clearly when cutting into the biscuits.
  3. This mixture will turn into a dough, and when it does place it on a floured surface. Cut this in four approximately equal pieces and roll each one into a log shape.
  4. Place the dough onto the lined baking trays and flatten them into around 1cm thick rectangles. Brush the tops with the egg wash and bake for around 25 to 30 minutes, till they turn golden brown.

Store them in an airtight container and cut as many pieces as you like, as you go. Do not attempt to cut them up before serving since they will almost certainly dry out.To make this even more traditional, you can add lemon peel and a few drops of orange flower water, something found in the Maltese version.

Happy Baking!

Rob x