Marzipan-Filled Easter Pastries (Maltese Figolli)
Ingredients
For the Pastry:
  • 6-1/4 cups 800 g all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1-3/4 cups 400 g unsalted butter, cool
  • 1-3/4 cups 350 g granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon 2 g salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Water to bind
For the Filling:
  • 6-3/4 cups 500 g ground almonds
  • 4 cups 500 g confectioners' sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon 15 ml orange blossom water
  • You will Also Need:
  • Royal Icing for decorating
  • Small Easter eggs for decorating foil or unwrapped chocolate eggs
Instructions
For the Pastry:
  1. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter to a cornmeal consistency, or pulse in a food processor.
  2. Add the sugar and lemon zest and mix or pulse again. Mix in the egg yolks and enough water to make a stiff but pliable dough.
  3. Separate dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic and press down gently so you have 2 discs of dough. Chill for 45 minutes.
For the Filling:
  1. While the dough is chilling, make your filling. Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar (or ready-made marzipan), then add the egg whites and orange blossom water, mixing until incorporated.
Assembly & Baking:
  1. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Place on top of a large piece of parchment paper (I use a silicone rolling mat underneath to ensure it doesn't slip while rolling, but you can even dampen counter so the parchment sticks a bit) and then place another sheet of parchment paper on top. You can also roll dough on a lightly floured surface (I just find this parchment method the most reliable).
  2. Roll dough (this will require a bit of elbow grease for the first few minutes until it softens up a bit) until it is about 1/8" thick.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350°F. While the oven is preheating, slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Repeat with your second disc of dough.
  4. Remove from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters of your choice--you will need 2 identical pieces for each figolla. Place each shape on the lined baking sheet and spread a thick layer of the filling, leaving a 3/4" edge untouched, then cover each shape with its match, gently pressing down the edges to seal.
  5. Place the baking sheets of figolli in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Then bake until edges are light golden brown, about 15-18 minutes (this varies).
  6. Let cool on baking sheets on wire racks, then decorate each pastry with royal icing and don't forget the chocolate Easter egg!
Decorating:
  1. With royal icing in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (I used #3), outline the shape of the cookie (I do about 5 at a time). Let sit for a few minutes. *Cover the tip of the piping bag with a damp cloth when not using.
  2. Fill (aka flood) the cookie with the flood-consistency royal icing (same piping bag), gently pulling any open spots to the outline using a toothpick. Let sit for about a minute, and then place your chocolate or foil-covered egg directly onto the cookie (foil eggs stick beautifully and pop right off when you're ready to take them off the cookie to eat).
  3. Decorate the cookies any way you like. I added sprinkles for bunny eyes and noses, and then piped a small pink bow using pink royal icing and tip #2. After cookies have set for about an hour, you can add a bunny tail with stiff peak royal icing and a small open star tip. Let decorated pastries sit overnight before wrapping or packaging.