Since I posted the photo of these beautiful biscuits on Sunday, I am delighted to receive so many messages asking what they are and requests for the recipe by Renato Briffa.
I came across Xkunvat for the first time very recently last Christmas Day at the home of a good friend. She explained that since she was a child, this has always been a family favorite and she carried on the tradition of making them at special family celebrations. Her children and grandchildren also love them even though they are not particularly fond of sweets.
I discovered that most locals on the island do not even know what they are and hope that this tradition will not be forgotten by the next generation !
There are few ingredients in this recipe and they are easy to make but you need time and patience as the whole process is quite time consuming, although I found it therapeutic as it good excuse to have a break and switch off for a few hours, both mentally and physically ! This is not a healthy recipe as traditionally the ribbons are deep fried. I have also tried to oven bake them and although they were good, the end result was not the same.
I always believe there is no harm in treating yourself … special treats in moderation and special occasions …. we deserve it….
You will need:
30g vegetable margarine or vegetable lard, I use margarine
3 drops vanilla extract
Aniseeds (I use 1 teaspoon crushed seeds and a few drops of aniseed flavor)
Honey for drizzling
Sprinkles, hundreds-and-thousands, sugar confetti of your choice
Vegetable oil for frying
Make the pastry dough: Sieve the flour, cut up the margarine into small pieces and rub in. Add the vanilla, aniseed flavor and seeds. You can use both or just the flavor if you want a smooth biscuit as the seeds will add more texture. I use both in mine. Add the egg and bind together. If necessary add another egg. Wrap in cling film.
Leave in the fridge for half an hour to rest.
Roll out pastry on a floured surface. Cut into strips.
Then tie knots in varying sizes, and you can play around and make bows and twirls.
Prepare them on a tray for frying.
Fill a large pan with oil or use a deep fat fryer. Deep fry the ribbons and drain on lots of kitchen towel to absorb the access oil.
Arrange on platter and drizzle with honey. I like to use the local floral honey that is in season at the moment. Sprinkle sugar confetti of your choice all over. I have been using pastel colours and add sugar butterflies as it looks very pretty.