‘Making figolli [two cookie layers with a soft marzipan filling] is a good childhood memory if you were brought up in Malta and making them every Easter is a tradition for most Maltese families, even for those who usually do not make cakes and sweets.

The taste of this ‘healthy’ version is of course not identical to the traditional figolli but it is a healthier option for those who still wish to celebrate, share and preserve memories of our traditions.

The pure ground almonds and citrus zest are combined with alternative ingredients making this version more diabetic friendly and they suit most dietary requirements.  The dark chocolate topping to replace the sugar icing is not only healthier but an amazing combination with the mixed citrus zest and almonds.’

‘Life is not how you live it but how you remember it’                                       (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

‘Using almond butter makes a delicious pastry and simply rubbing it into the flour in the same way as is done with normal butter achieves a great result.  Linseed is used to substitute eggs and lots of citrus zest is a must when making figolli.

The almond filling is simple to make, literally just combining all the ingredients together and adding a small amount of pure almond butter further enhances the flavours

‘Rolling out the pastry cannot be easier.  As my figolli are on the smaller size and as I imagine they would appeal to those looking for a healthier version, I rolled the pastry out to be as thin as possible.  The aroma of citrus has already filled the kitchen at this stage and I use unwaxed Maltese oranges, lemons and tangerines, making the most of all that wonderful fruit as we approach the end of citrus season

Mini eggs are easy to make with Novi chocolate and a good silicone mould.  The chocolate can be melted in the microwave or in a bain marie and I used a knife to smooth out the surface while the chocolate was still melted.

Maltese Easter Figolli [gluten free, vegan, reduced sugar]


    For the Pastry
  • 500g gluten free flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 250g almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup stevia
  • a pinch of salt
  • vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons mixed citrus zest [orange, tangerine, lemon]
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of mixed spice
  • 4 tablespoons linseed ground with 12 tablespoons water
    For the almond filling
  • 500g ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 cup stevia
  • 2 tablespoons mixed citrus zest [orange, tangerine, lemon]
  • vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons linseed ground with 12 tablespoons water
    For the chocolate topping
  • 800g Novi dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
    For the mini chocolate eggs
  • 500g Novi dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower oil
    You will also need:
  • Baking Tray
  • Baking Paper
  • Non Stick Cooking Spray
  • Easter Egg Silicone Mould


    For the Pastry
  1. Sift the gluten free flour twice into a large bowl.
  2. Add the almond butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until the mixture is consistent and looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Use a food processor to grind the linseed and water required for both the pastry and the filling and keep aside.
  4. Add the cornflour, baking powder, stevia, salt, vanilla, grated citrus zest and mixed spice to the flour mixture and stir.
  5. Start to add half the quantity of the linseed and water mixture little by little and use a knife to bring the dough together. [Keep the other half of the linseed and water mixture to make the filling]
  6. When you have added all the linseed mixture use your hands to bring the dough together and if more liquid is needed, add a tablespoon on water and carry on until the bowl is clean.
  7. Wrap the pastry ball in some cling film and place in the fridge for an hour before rolling out.
    For the Figolli Filling
  1. Place the ground almonds, almond butter, stevia, mixed citrus zest, vanilla and salt in a large bowl and mix together.
  2. Add the ground linseed and water mixture [the other half]
  3. Knead until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for half an hour.
    Making the figolli
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Prepare a baking tray by lining it with baking paper and spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Start by rolling out the pastry.
  4. Lightly dust the work surface and rolling pin with some flour.
  5. Place the pastry dough on the work surface and start to roll it out. The thickness is a matter of choice and for this recipe I roll it out to a thickness of 1cm.
  6. Re-dust the rolling pin with flour if the pastry is sticky as linseed tends to create a sticky consistency.
  7. Cut out your desired shapes, 2 identical ones for each figolla.
  8. Place a small amount of almond filling on the bottom part of each figolla and flatten it gently with a teaspoon dipped in water.
  9. Brush the edges of the pastry with water.
  10. Lay the second pastry shape on top to cover the almond fillilng and then press the edges together.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray.
    Decorating the figolli with gluten free chocolate
  1. Roughly chop up the Novibloc and place in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave uncovered for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Keep repeating the process of microwaving for 30 seconds each time, stirring and repeating until the chocolate melts.
  3. Add the sunflower oil to the chocolate and mix in until the chocolate appears glossy.
    Making your own mini chocolate easter eggs
  1. Break up the Novibloc chocolate into chunks. Melt till smooth in the microwave using the same process for the chocolate coating of the figolli.
  2. Pour into the silicone mould and place in the refrigerator to set for 3 hours or more before removing them from the mould.
    Finishing off the figolli
  1. Dip each figolla into the melted chocolate to coat the surface.
  2. Place a mini chocolate easter egg in the centre of each figolla before the melted chocolate solidifies.

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Trade Enquiries:
Novibloc gluten free chocolate and Pip and Nut Almond butter is available at M & Z (Marketing) Ltd

Cookie Cutters, chocolate moulds and kitchenware by Pedrini at K & Co, Telephone 79415384

‘Melting Novibloc dark chocolate is easy. You can use the microwave or a more tradtional bain marie and it also works very well on direct low heat. Some tips to watch out for when melting chocolate is to stir it continuously while it melts and if for some reason any water splashes into the main bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon of sunflower oil.



6 Comments on “Maltese Easter Figolli [gluten free, vegan, reduced sugar]

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