Imqaret (Maltese date-filled pastries)

These Maltese pastries make the most decadent tea-time treat. Buttery pastry is filled with a spiced, citrusy date paste, deep fried and coated in icing sugar- you won’t be stopping at one.

Allergens: Recipe may contain gluten, milk, egg, wheat and lactose.

14 Ingredients

  • 180g pitted dates, chopped

  • 1 tsp finely grated orange rind

  • 60ml (1 ⁄4 cup) fresh orange juice

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 ⁄2 tsp ground aniseed or star anise (see tip)

  • Pinch of ground cloves

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Vegetable oil, to deep fry
  • pastry

  • 375g (21 ⁄2 cups) plain flour

  • 125g butter, chopped

  • 2 tbsp icing sugar mixture, plus extra, to dust

  • 1⁄2 tsp baking powder

  • 80ml (1 ⁄3 cup) warm water

  • 3 tsp orange blossom water

5 Method Steps

  • Step 1

    Place dates
    (180g pitted dates, chopped)
    , rind
    (1 tsp finely grated orange rind)
    , juice
    (60ml (1 ⁄4 cup) fresh orange juice)
    and 60ml (1 ⁄4 cup) water
    (80ml (1 ⁄3 cup) warm water)
    in a saucepan. Stir until combined. Set aside for 15 minutes or until dates soften.

  • Step 2

    Add cinnamon
    (1 tsp ground cinnamon)
    , aniseed
    (1 ⁄2 tsp ground aniseed or star anise (see tip))
    , cloves
    (Pinch of ground cloves)
    and vanilla
    (1 tsp vanilla extract)
    . Cook, stirring, over low heat for 20 minutes or until thick and smooth. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

  • Step 3

    To make pastry, place flour
    (375g (21 ⁄2 cups) plain flour)
    , butter
    (125g butter, chopped)
    , sugar
    (2 tbsp icing sugar mixture, plus extra, to dust)
    , baking powder
    (1⁄2 tsp baking powder)
    and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add warm water and blossom water
    (3 tsp orange blossom water)
    . Process until just comes together into a soft, smooth ball. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into disc. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for 1 hour to rest.

  • Step 4

    Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 5mm-thick, 24 x 40cm rectangle. Trim edges. Cut lengthways into 3 strips. Spread date mixture down middle of each strip. Brush edge with water. Fold dough over lengthways. Press edges to seal. Flatten gently then cut each log diagonally into 2cm-thick pieces.

  • Step 5

    Pour oil
    (Vegetable oil, to deep fry)
    into a large deep saucepan until half full. Place over medium-high heat and heat to 180C on a cook’s thermometer (see tip, opposite). Deep-fry pastries, in batches, turning occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Drain on a tray lined with paper towel. Toss in extra icing sugar. Serve warm.
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Image by Kathy Knudsen & Tracy Rutherford And Nigel Lough

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