Food & drink
10 iconic Maltese desserts to indulge in
The Maltese have a sweet tooth indeed. Here are 10 favourite local desserts.

Lisa Borain
Imqaret (date cakes)
These are first on the list because these gorgeously deep-fried sweet pastry date-filled cakes are to die for. You'll smell these rectangular-shaped sweets before you find them at village feasts and street markets.
Kannoli Tal-Irkotta (cannoli)
Not far off from the Sicilian ones, Maltese cannoli offer a thick pastry shell filled with delightfully sweet ricotta. There's a cannol for everyone with a variation of ingredients, such as chocolate, chopped nuts, and glacé cherries.
Qaghaq tal-Ghasel (honey rings)
Although the literal translation for these ring-shaped desserts is ‘honey rings’, there's actually no honey hiding in the filling or pastry, but rather treacle.  Qaghaq tal-Ghasel is best washed down with a hot cup of tea as an afternoon snack. 
Gino Galea -
Torta Tal-Lewz (almond cake)
The Maltese love their almonds. Often available at festas or served at weddings and other celebrations, the outer layer of this cake consists of pastry, whilst its almond, honey and orange rind inside is moist and nutty. 
Pudina tal-hobz (bread pudding)
When bread was a staple during the tough times of Malta's 18th century, stale bread was left to soak, and eventually turned into a sweet pudding by adding some sultanas, candied peel, and chocolate to sweeten up the taste. As this is a time-consuming delicacy, its popularity is waning.
Kwarezimal (chewy biscuits)
Synonymous with Lent, the kwarezimal is oblong in shape and is traditionally prepared with almonds, honey and spices, containing neither fat nor eggs. They're best served hot, and with unsalted pistachio nuts or chopped roasted almonds alongside a ribbon of local honey on top. 
Helwa tat-Tork (Halva – Turk’s sweet)
Not originally Maltese, this sweet probably began its popularity in Malta when the islands were under Arab rule. It's now a common sweet on the islands, abundant at festas and other special celebrations. Either flour or nut based, the paste is made of sweetened, crushed sesame seeds and it has a lovely flaky, chalky texture.
Sinizza (Swiss roll) 
This oval shaped soft sponge roll is filled with ricotta and candied fruit peel, then covered in a puff pastry made with a mix of flour, eggs, rose water, nutmeg, and Maltese honey. Nuts are shredded on top, and then the entire dessert is covered in honey and baked. Indulgent much? 
Torta tal-Marmurat (almond and chocolate pie)
Traditionally baked for special celebrations on the island, this almond and sweet spices-filled pie is topped with dark melted chocolate and icing. It's hard to find this dessert at bakeries, so it's often home-made by those who have carried their recipes throughout the generations.
Sfineg ta’ San Guzepp (dough balls)
Sfineg ta’ San Guzepp are fried dough balls filled with sweet ricotta and covered in Maltese honey; very similar to the Italian zeppoli - a popular Italian pastry. Traditionally, they're made for the Feast of St Joseph on March 19th, alongside their savoury counterpart, filled with anchovies.

19th November 2022

Lisa Borain
Written by
Lisa Borain
Lisa is a copywriter/editor with an adventurous interest and penchant for all things Malta.

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