Tag Archives: traditional Maltese

Christmas Log

Christmas-Log-(6474)

Click here for the updated version, posted on 21/12/2017.

Unlike the traditional Christmas cake, which I only made a handful of times, I’m a huge fan of mince pies, the crustier the pastry the better, and this log. Now I must honestly say that the Maltese recipe for Christmas log wins hands down here, at least for me. The British chocolate sponge version doesn’t really do anything for me. I still prefer it over the pudding though, which on the other side of the spectrum is too rich, again for my taste.

Christmas-Log-(6461)

I use this recipe year after year, and is exactly how I like it. My mum makes a mean log, moist and it’s basically yumminess personified, which she gets by adding more alcohol than I do. I like mine a little bit more mellow, reflected in my version. If you want to add a bit more, so be it. I promised my friends this recipe by the end of the week, so without further ado here it is.

Makes approximately 3 x 20cm long logs, and it’s a no-cook assemblage! Please note that the recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk – the gloopy sticky stuff. The mixture will turn out to be too liquidy if you use any other kind of tinned milk.

For the log:

  • 300g rich tea biscuits
  • 125g chopped almonds
  • 200g walnuts
  • 400g candied cherries
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 75ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 397g sweetened condensed milk

For the topping:

  • Dark chocolate, melted for covering the log
  • icing sugar, for sprinkling

Lay 3 sheets of parchment paper or cling film on your worktop, one for each log.

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients for the log, preferably using your clean hands. You should basically end up with a sticky mess, but trust me, this is what you want.

Divide the mixture into three, and roll each one in parchment paper.

Put them in the fridge and leave to set overnight.

When you are ready to decorate, unwrap and place them on flat serving dish. Cover with the dark molten chocolate. When the chocolate is completely set, liberally dust the logs with icing sugar.

My countdown to Christmas has officially begun! 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