With thanks to my good friend Renato Briffa for the traditional recipe from the days when his father had a confectionery in Old Mint Street Valletta for these maltese biscuits which used to be shared at feasts and celebrations.
Bringing back old traditions during our live show every afternoon, we made them in a rush to fit in with the time frame of our programme. If you are making them at home, leave the pastry in the fridge for a few hours before rolling out.
You will need:
30g vegetable margarine or vegetable lard, I use margarine
3 drops vanilla extract
Aniseeds (I use 1 teaspoon crushed seeds and a few drops of aniseed flavor)
Honey for drizzling
Sprinkles, hundreds-and-thousands, sugar confetti of your choice
Vegetable oil for frying
Make the pastry dough: Sieve the flour, cut up the margarine into small pieces and rub in. Add the vanilla, aniseed flavor and seeds. You can use both or just the flavor if you want a smooth biscuit as the seeds will add more texture. I use both in mine. Add the egg and bind together. If necessary add another egg. Wrap in cling film.
Leave in the fridge for half an hour to rest.
Roll out pastry on a floured surface. Cut into strips.
Then tie knots in varying sizes, and you can play around and make bows and twirls.
Prepare them on a tray for frying.
Fill a large pan with oil or use a deep fat fryer. Deep fry the ribbons and drain on lots of kitchen towel to absorb the access oil.
Arrange on platter and drizzle with honey. I like to use the local floral honey that is in season at the moment. Sprinkle sugar confetti of your choice all over.