Traditional Qassatati (cheeselet pies)
Updated: Apr 20
Welcome! I am honoured to be writing this first Colour my Travel blog post!
Today I will be sharing with you a simple and easy recipe for a delicious Maltese snack, called Qassatati. The #qassatat is usually commercially available to buy from any pastizzeria all year round, however, the #homemade ones are popular during the Easter period. Mainly this is because the traditional qassatat filling is made up of cheese and fresh broad beans, which are in season during March-April.
#Cheeselets or #Ricotta filling?
I personally prefer the Maltese (or Gozitan) cheeselets rather than ricotta. However, this depends on your taste and what is available. The cheeselets that you buy directly from the farms are sometimes not easily available to buy. Also, most of the time you will need to book them in advance. In my case, for this recipe, I used cheeselets that I bought from Tal-Karmnu Farm shop in Ħaż-Żebbug. Orders can be done directly through their Facebook page. If you are in a rush, you may buy ricotta from any supermarket.
Homemade Dough Ingredients
I used the below ingredients for my dough:
All-Purpose Flour: I used normal Lamb brand flour
Margarine: This can also be substituted with unsalted butter. When I did this recipe I used half margarine and half unsalted butter. The more butter you use, the more flaky and tasty the dough becomes once cooked. The amount of butter recommended here is more on the conservative side compared to the usual recipes. I tried to keep it on the healthier side!
Salt: adds the necessary flavour
Water: Use warm water.
Place the flour, margarine and salt in a mixing bowl, and combine using a food processor or dough machine. It is important to add the water gradually so that the dough will not get too soft.
Shape the dough in the form of a medium-sized cylinder and split into 4 pieces. Thereafter, split these 4 pieces again into 3 pieces each. You should now have 12 pieces in all. Shape each of the pieces into a ball and let them rest for one hour.
Creating the filling ingredients
While the dough is resting, we can start working on the filling. Below are the ingredients used for the filling:
Cheeselets or ricotta: I used cheeselets as explained above.
Broad Beans (called ful in Maltese): usually these are in season during the Easter period. You can easily buy fresh ones if they are in season, or otherwise, you can opt for the frozen ones. I used fresh organic ones that were delivered by our parents. Broad beans are optional. In my recipe, I did half of the qassatati with the broad beans and half of them without, the reason being that I don't really fancy them.
Eggs: Mix the eggs and leave some for later to glaze the pies.
Grated Cheese: I used Parmigiano Reggiano
Combine all of the above in a mixing bowl. If you are doing half with broad beans and a half without, make sure to place the broad beans in last. The mixture should not be too soft.
Shaping the Qassatati
Now it is time to use your rolling pin and open the dough balls into a flat dough. Divide the cheese mixture into twelve, and add to the middle of the dough. Close the dough in the qassatat shape and transfer to a dish. After you have finished, glaze the qassatati with some of the leftover eggs so that they will look crispy on the outside once cooked, especially since I was conservative on the amount of butter used on the dough.
Cook the dough into a pre-heated over at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes, or until crispy on the outside.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 12 small qassatati
Follow the below basic instructions for crispy homemade qassatati which are not full of grease, like the ones you would buy from the traditional pastizzerias. This recipe yields 12 small qassatati.
Ingredients for the dough:
500g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
150g margarine or unsalted butter. This can be increased up to 300g up to your liking.
Ingredients for the Filling:
7 cheeselets (can be replaced with ricotta)
100g Parmigiano Reggiano grated cheese
2 eggs (leave some for glazing)
salt and pepper to taste
Broad beans (ful)
Prepare the dough: Whisk the four, salt and margarine in a food processor or dough machine. Add the water gradually until a dough has been formed. Do not add too much water as the dough will become too soft and difficult to open.
Take the dough out of your food processor and shape it in the form of a rugby ball. Split the dough into 4 pieces. Split each of these 4 pieces into 3, so that you will get a total of 12 pieces. Shape the 12 pieces into balls.
Let the dough balls rest for one hour.
Prepare the filling mixture by combining all of the filling ingredients.
Using a rolling pin, open the dough pieces and add some of the filling into the middle of each.
Close the dough to make the shape of a qassatat.
Glaze the qassatati with the remaining egg mixture.
Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes, or until the qassatati are golden from the outside.
I hope that you enjoyed this first blog post. If you follow this recipe, please tag us on Instagram @colourmytravel , we would love to see the outcome!