easter: figolla aftermath

i initially wanted
to make a rather detailed study on the tradition of figolla making
sampling a good number
reading about it
ask experts
compare recipies etc

the figolla seems to be quite a maltese thing
i m know almonds are used in many countries in sweets
but one must admit that the figolla is maybe one of those maltese things
that we are proud to own

of course the beauty of it probably is that there is a similar recipe in spain
that they call "fihollo"
and that thats where our ancestors stole it from

dont bother to look it up
i made it up as far as i can tell
easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, and colombe are good
but the figolla is the mother of all easter sweets

this sweet
has of course its definite ties with the christian liturgy
and custom
and if i had to put and measure everything in perspective
then the best figolla i must have ever tasted
was the one i took that year i decided
to fast during lent

after 40 days without any sweets or sugary things
the easter morning is set alight with the magic of the first figolla

this year i did not fast
i started a blog on pursuits in gastronomy and
my hedonistic approach to nutrition
nonetheless i still awaited the figolla tradition with my open arms and jaws

i did not make a detailed study
but instead i decided to discuss the top 3 figollas i have tasted this year
these are not from the in-family recipies
i still love the recipe passed on to my mother and her sisters
from my grandma
but i must say
there are other recipes which are far more noteworthy

it is strange how everyone uses the same basic method and ingredients
to make a figolla
and still each figolla-maker produces unique figollas
by characteristics of taste, build, texture, and decoration

figollas seem to be made by women mostly
i dunno why but these top 3 ones i m talking about are from women not men

they are put in order of chronology
but also they might be in order of ascending greatness
but this i cannot tell so clearly

drey's sister's figolla(from their nanna's recipe):
the regular figolla you taste usually has the layer of intrita
(marzipanish paste made from almonds)
sandwiched between the distinct pastry
this figolla managed to keep no distinct separation between the layers
this makes it a more enjoyable delight as the teeth and the gums
are not hit with crunchy-unwanted debris
as usually happens especially with these mass produced figollas from the local confectioneries
some of the really bad ones make me think of shrapnel hitting the roof of my mouth

drastic you may think
but figollas are already not the healthiest food choice
so if i choose to indulge in a piece
that piece should be worth the trouble
this figolla had a chocolate top layer decorated with some coloured specks
its one layeredness and the good proportioning of the ingredients
made it a simple yet just-right delight

kari's mother figolla:

this included less of the one layered effect
but here the distinctness of the layers was enjoyable since
the pastry was interesting on its own merits
it seems that this was made with the use of orange rind and juice
dont ask me where and how but
it was definetely an elevating feature
along with the appropriate amount of icing
thin enough not to fall off
and to complement the taste
the small pieces of almond nut in the paste
made the texture very interesting
infact i think this figolla out of the 3
had the most varied combination of complementing textures
and of course the original orangey taste

anton's maria's figolla:

this is my most recent experience
and what i liked is that although it is close to beating the other two
it had no top layer of icing or chocolate
the homogenous texture dotted by the inner nut pieces like the one of kari's mom
gave it a good one layered effect thing going on
but the texture here was more cake-like
and crumbly
it made me thing of bread
i loved how this figolla looked like butter-fried toast
and while eating it i had felt it was fulfilling similarly to bread
my fingers got very sticky after eating this one
i think some type of sugary or buttery coating was given
or maybe it was in the pastry's preparation

1 comment:

Patrick said...

Hi Glen, very interesting article about the figolla. I loove figolli... I live in Sydney Australia and now i have the opportunity to buy figolli from here through the internet.