Each month we will be bringing you a recipe from one of our chefs in collaboration with the National Register for Traditional Agro-food Products co-ordinated by the Agriculture Directorate.
In 2014, the Directorate issued a legal notice to setup a register to gather and populate within it agricultural and agro-food products as well as gastronomic recipes. This was done in order to recognise such products in an official manner as truly traditional. Up to this date in Malta we never had a framework or setup to distinguish traditional products from other contemporary food items and products.
In order for a traditional product to be classified as such, the processing, preservation and ageing methods used to make that product or gastronomic plate need to be consolidated in time and have proven usage on the Maltese market or culture for a period that allows transmission between generations. This period shall be no less that twenty-five years. This means that if individuals have a recipe or a product which has been in cultivation or in production for a period no less than 25 years, then these products are eligible to be included in the register.
April Recipe brought to you by Joseph Mercieca, Chef Patron of Country Terrace in Gozo
Imqaret tat-tamal: “Fried date rolls”
This recipe makes around 28 fried date rolls.
Ingredients for pastry
- 400g plain flour
- 3tbsp aniseed liqueur
- 1tbsp lard
- 1tbsp “ilma zahar”
- 1tbsp margarine
- 1tbs sugar
- Optional water to bind the pastry
Ingredients for the filling
- 400g dates (without bone)
- Pinch ground cloves
- Orange zest
- 1tbsp aniseed liqueur
- 1tbsp “ilma zahar”
Mix the lard and the margarine with the flour until achieving a breadcrumbs consistency. Add the sugar, the aniseed liqueur and the “ilma zahar”. Mix these ingredients to obtain a smooth pastry. If pastry is dry add a little bit of water to achieve the desired pastry texture. Chill the pastry for at least 30 minutes.
Chop the dates and leave them submerged in water for about 30 minutes. In a mixing bowl crush completely the dates and mix them with the other listed ingredients.
To make the date rolls, open the pastry into 10cm strips. Brush the edges with water and spread the date filling in the middle of the pastry. Then flip and combine the pastry edges. Cut the date rolls diagonally with a sharp knife.
Fry the date rolls for approximately 2 minutes on each side until achieving a golden-brown colour. Optional drizzle some honey on the date rolls and serve hot.