Malta – Għadam tal-mejtin

This week, the smallest EU state, and one of the most densely populated, Malta. Malta has more than 365 churches, so you can pray in a different church every day of the year if you want. I mention this because għadam tal-mejtin are traditionally made for All Souls’ Day, which is at the beginning of November (similar to Day of the Dead). I have some quite distant Maltese heritage (my great-great-grandfather was Maltese, before moving to Guyana), and so it’s nice to be able to explore this country that I know very little about despite my distant links to it. Also, għadam tal-mejtin are delicious, and have inspired some thoughts about similarly filled biscuits I can make for Christmas. 

IMG_6346tAs for Brexit, well, it’s still going on. Theresa May has had her deal signed off by the EU, which I suppose is something at least. And now we wait to see if anyone in Parliament will actually vote for it. Unfortunately it seems that very few people want to vote for it, for a variety of reasons, all of which are likely to just send her back to the drawing board, or hopefully, potentially, get us a second vote. But even a good outcome on that isn’t guaranteed. It’s a terribly uncertain place we find ourselves in now. 

This post is part of a series called ‘Brexit Baking’, where I bake my way around all 28 EU Member States. You can read more about it here.IMG_6347tGħadam tal-mejtin (recipe from here)
400g plain flour
125g butter
300g sugar
1 egg
25ml milk
Juice of half a lemon
Vanilla essence
200g sugar
200g ground almonds
40ml water

1. Make the pastry by rubbing the butter and flour together until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Mix the sugar with the eggs and add the mixture above.

2. Add the lemon and the vanilla essence and knead it. Add the milk and knead it to an elastic dough.

3. For the filling put the sugar and the water on a low heat and when sugar melts add the almonds. Blend the mixture very well, and let it cool.

4. Roll out the pastry and cut out your shapes. Make two of each shape as they will be sandwiched with almond paste.

5. Lay the first shape on a greased and floured baking tray, spread with almond paste, leaving a small margin. Lay the second shape over the top and press the edges together. Wet the edges with a brush dipped in milk to ensure adhesion.

6. Bake at 180C/gas 4, for about 20 minutes, until pale golden. Cool on the tray before decorating.

7. When the bones are cold, coat with light royal icing. You can sprinkle the top with crushed almonds if you wish. 

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