Recipe: Sweet ricotta qassatat

Sweet ricotta qassatat

These beautiful pies are decorated with bright red and green sugar and taste delicious with bits of candid peel and chocolate grated into the filling. This recipe was passed on to me by Renato Briffa, a good friend whose father ran a very popular bakery in Valletta in 1955. Renato is a senior lecturer at ITS and a specialist on Maltese sweets. I admire his work and he is always generous with sharing his recipes and his father’s old secrets.

For the sweet ricotta pies in the photo, which I made together with Renato, you will need:


For the dough:

  • 500 g all purpose flour
  • 225 g chilled butter cut up in cubes
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • About ½ cup water

For the filling:

  • 500 g ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup mix of grated dark chocolate and mixed peel
  • 2 tbsp sugar

For the topping :

  • 200 ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Cherries


For the dough:

  1. Rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the salt and sugar.
  3. Add the egg and work in and then add the water gradually. You may not need to add all the water.
  4. Knead the dough.
  5. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.

For the filling:

  1. Mash up the ricotta.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and stir until even.

Making the pies:

  1. Roll out the dough and using a 10 cm circular cutter, cut out rounds on a well floured surface.
  2. Put a spoon of the ricotta mixture in the middle if the circle.
  3. Pinch the edge of the dough into pleats until you have done it all around. You are trying to get an open funnel surface.
  4. Either pipe some more of the ricotta mix into the pie to fill the neck of the funnel or you may use a teaspoon, but do not fill it right to the top as the filling will expand and rise.
  5. Brush the pastry with egg wash.
  6. Bake at 200C for about half an hour until they are a golden color.

For the topping:

  1. Whisk together the ingredients until thick.
  2. For the coloured sugar: 1 drop each of green and red food coloring to every 4 spoons of sugar. Mix together.
  3. I used a piping bag to top the pies with cream but you can spoon it in.
  4. Top each pie with a cherry and sprinkle some green and red colored sugar for a festive look.

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