Traditional recipe: Almond and chocolate tart (torta tal-marmurat)

Maltese Marmurat Tart -Torta tal Marmurat

Traditionally baked for special celebrations on the island, the almond and chocolate tart (locally known as it-torta tal-marmurat) combines chocolate, almonds and sweet spices and is coated with dark melted chocolate. This is another recipe I prepared with Renato Briffa, senior lecturer at ITS and specialist in Maltese sweets. His recipes are traditional ones from his father's old bakery situated in Old Mint Street, Valletta, in the '50s.

You will need: A 25 cm tart dish

Preparation time: 30 min

Cooking time: 25-30 min


For sweet pastry:

  • 160 g flour
  • 50 g sugar
  • 50 g butter
  • 5 g baking powder
  • 3 drops vanilla extract
  • 35 ml water
  • Zest of a quarter of a fresh lemon

For filling:

  • 125 g pure ground almonds
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 g sweet crumbs from left over cakes or digestive biscuits
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch of mixed spice
  • 4 drops vanilla extract
  • 20 g candid peel, preferably orange

To finish:

  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 80 g Roasted Flaked Almonds


For sweet pastry:

  1. Sieve flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
  2. Add the softened butter cut up into small pieces and rub in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  4. Mix the sugar with water until it has dissolved and mix into the dry ingredients until they bind evenly.
  5. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in a cool place for at least 15 minutes.

For filling:

  1. In a large bowl mix the ground almonds, sugar and sweet crumbs.
  2. Add sieved cocoa powder, mixed spice, vanilla and candid peel and mix well.
  3. Finally add the well beaten egg and mix with wooden spoon until the mixture is even.
  4. Test for a dropping consistency and if necessary add another egg.

To make the pie:

  1. Heat oven to 160 C or gas mark 5
  2. Grease the tart dish. 
  3. Open the rested pastry with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. 
  4. Line the dish with the pastry. Trim the pastry neatly and dock it with a fork. 
  5. Spread the marmalade on the bottom of the pastry and then fill with the almond mix. 
  6. Take a spoon and dip in hot water and run over the surface of the filling to achieve a tidy finish. 
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. 
  8. Cool on a wire rack.
  9. To finish off, melt 150 g of dark chocolate and spread it on the tart. You can use a palette knife but I like to brush it on with a large pastry brush in several layers.
  10. Decorate as desired with roasted almonds.
  11. Store in an airtight tin.
  12. This tart will keep for a few weeks and, in fact, the flavour will improve

Photo credit: James Bianchi

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