Photograph taken by James Bianchi
This recipe was given to me by Renato Briffa. It was created by Renato's father Guzi in 1955 as a speciality for the family dolceria in Old Mint Street in Valletta. It is straightforward to make as it does not have a long list of ingredients. With flavours of old Malta revived, this tart is bound to be a crowd pleaser!
You will need: a 25 cm tart dish
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
For the sweet pastry:
- 160 g flour
- 50 g sugar
- 50 g softened butter
- 5 g baking powder
- 3 drops vanilla extract
- 35 g water
- Zest of a quarter of a fresh Lemon
- Pinch of cinnamon
For hazelnut filling:
- 400 g hazlenuts
- 250 g sugar
- 250 g butter
- 125 g honey
- Cherries for decoration (optional)
- Heat oven to 160 or gas mark 5
- For the sweet pastry:
- Sieve flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
- Add butter cut up into small pieces. Rub in until you have a fine consistency.
- Add vanilla extract, lemon zest and cinnamon.
- Dissolve sugar and cold water and mix into dry ingredients.
- Knead and leave to rest wrapped in cling film in a cool place for at least 15 minutes.
- Grease the tart dish and roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface.
- Line the dish and trim neatly. Dock the pastry with a fork.
- For hazelnut filling:
- Roast the nuts in the oven until they are a light gold colour. Cool and place in a plastic bag.
- Crush lightly with a rolling pin but do not over do it; the nuts need to be large and chipped.
- Melt the butter on very gentle heat.
- Add the sugar and honey and stir, still on low heat, until the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat.
- When cool, add the Hazlenut filling into the pastry case and bake for 25 minutes.
- Take out of oven and leave on a wire rack to cool completely in the tart dish.
- When you take it out of the oven the consistency will be runny but as it cools down the filling sets.
- Gently take the tart out of the dish; you may need to use the point of a sharp knife to help ease it out. Decorate with cherries.
- This tart will last for a few weeks if stored in an airtight container and the flavor improves. No need to refrigerate.
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