I used Renato Briffa’s recipe to make a healthier version of these traditional Maltese biscuits and used olive oil and stevia instead of sugar,butter or lard. I also added some tahini to acquire a more intense sesame flavour and brushed the cookies ever so lightly with sesame oil as soon as I took them out of the oven.’
Photography: Ian Noel Pace, CJ Baldacchino and Marconia Schembri during a live tv show
You will need:
100ml mild and light olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini [sesame seed paste]
1 teaspoon baking powder
A few drops of a good vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon
Zest of 2 tangerines OR instead of mixed citrus use the zest of 1 lime [optional]
110g sugar or the equivalent in stevia
A few drops of anisette
50 g sesame seeds, use the amount that you prefer
To finish off after baking: a very light brushing of sesame oil
An ovenproof baking tray and cooking spray [I used avocado oil spray on tv]
Sieve the flour twice.
Add the olive oil, tahini [sesame paste] baking powder, vanilla, anisette, stevia and citrus zest. Use a spoon to mix the ingredients and then carry on by rubbing in the ingredients lightly with your finger tips in the same way you would rub butter into flour until the mixture looks consistent, like fine breadcrumbs.
Add the water, a little at a time and start to mix everything together to form a dough.
Allow to rest for an hour in the fridge.
Cut the dough into 20 equal portions. If you wish to be precise, weigh them so that the cookies are the same size.
If you prefer a smaller size cookie, divide the dough into 40 pieces.
Roll each portion on a piece of baking paper.
It is traditional to form the dough into an ‘8’ shape but you can also form them into rings.
Brush with water and dip the cookies into a the sesame seeds to form a light coating on the surface.
Prepare a baking tray with baking paper and spray it with a cooking spray.
Bake at 160 C for 25 to 30 minutes.
Allow to cool and harden before removing them from the baking sheet.
Place on a wire rack and allow them to dry up for a couple of days before serving. I left my in the oven to cool overnight.
‘If you are new to Maltese otti, do not expect a cookie crumble texture nor that of shortcake, these are hard rusks, the best dunking biscuits I have come across 🙂 ‘
The texture should be dry and hard and to achieve this you need to allow them to cook for a longer period of time and then to dry out for at least a daybefore serving. I turn my oven off and leave them in the oven overnight. In an airtight container, they will last for a few weeks.
You can watch Lea’s Good Food Everyday on Smash TV and follow the page on facebook
Olive oil by Filippo Berio and Fry Light Avocado Spray at Rimus Group
Truvia by Silver Spoon and Flour by St Georges Brand at Borg and Aquilina
Sesame Seeds, tahini paste, sesame oil, baking powder and vanilla by Good Earth
Fresh Fruit by Big Fresh Mosta and Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables, Big Fresh Mosta and Barbuto [organic]