Pastizzi – Camenzuli Style

Flaky Pastizzi
Flaky Pastizzi

Pastizzi ta’ l-Irkotta or Pastizzi tal-Pizelli!  Those are only two of the most popular fillings you will find because nowadays you  may find many more types of fillings…from sweet to savoury but I still think that the original are the best! Pastizzi get a bad rap because the dough contains a little more than your average fat.  Usually a basic dough has half the amount of fat as flour. The pastizzi dough has slightly more but is oh sooo worth it.

Pastizzi for Breakfast
Pastizzi for Breakfast

It is also slightly more work.  Well, when I say slightly, I mean a lot! And also slightly messier…ok a lot messier…but I don’t want to scare you away and really want you to try it, cause when you make it and taste it, you’re going to fall in love. There’s just nothing like that rich, crunchy but melt in your mouth pastry!!   And this recipe delivers! Pastizzi are also great to freeze so you can always have some on hand. Then just pop two in the toaster oven and have them for your lazy Sunday morning breakfast!

Uncle Fredu Making Pastizzi
Uncle Fredu Making Pastizzi

This recipe is one of those that has been passed down to me by my relatives who had emigrated to the US in the early 60’s which means they’d been here for 30 years before I made my appearance and had all that time to finesse everything Maltese!! I have a big family here and rest assured that there’s pastizzi at every gathering and not surprising at all, it would be the pastizzi that would be the first to disappear.

Uncle Alex Making Pastizzi
Uncle Alex Making Pastizzi

Pastizzi call for a mixture of butter and lard OR crisco.  There was a time when just the word LARD would make  me cringe and seeing anyone using it in cooking would immediately make me lose my appetite.  But here is an article I read recently that made me think differently.

Dough

  • 1lb all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 9oz water
  • 9oz lard or crisco
  • 3oz butter
Butter and Lard
Mix Butter and Lard

Make the dough by putting the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the oil and water and let it knead for about 12 mins until you have a nice smooth dough. Let it rest for about half an hour. Cut the dough in half. Open one of the halves into a long strip as shown in the photo beneath.

Take both fats and mix them together. Divide in two. Take one part of the mixed fat and slather it all over the rolled out dough.

From the end closest to you, start stretching and rolling while widening the dough as shown. Keep doing this until you reach the other end. You’ll end up with a long rope like piece of dough.

Take one end and roll it into a spiral shape. Put some fat over the top, cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. Do the same with the other piece of dough and remaining fat.

Ricotta Filling
Ricotta Filling

 

Filling
Make the pastizzi filling by mixing 1lb ricotta, 2 eggs and pinch of salt together.

Forming Pastizzi
Take the end of the spiral shaped dough and cut about two inches off the end. Flatten it with your hand as you turn it round and round between your fingers so you can see the ridges of the dough forming. Form it into a circle about 3-4 inches in diameter. Put a dollop of ricotta in the middle.

 

Ready for Baking or Freezing
Ready for Baking or Freezing.

Fold over and seal and place on a greased dish or on a silpat. Do this until you’ve used up all the dough and ricotta.

You can freeze them at this point. Or you can bake them in a 375 degree oven for about 20-30 mins until golden brown.

As with everything, moderation is the key.  Pastizzi are not the the healthiest of foods, but then neither are croissants or eclairs and it would be a shame if we couldn’t have them once in a while, so go on…have one…you know you want to.

 

Pastizzi Camenzuli Style
Pastizzi Camenzuli Style

 

56 thoughts on “Pastizzi – Camenzuli Style”

  1. WOW…beautifully done!! It makes me want to put a few in the oven right now. And thank you for including my father’s picture in your post. As far as I’m concerned it made your post complete dear cousin of mine. 🙂

  2. First time I visited with you, your dad tried to teach me how to make the dough. I was only 16 and at the time, I didn’t realise that if you wanted pastizzi, you HAD to make them yourself here…so I did not pay that much attention…but it all came back to me when we came here to live! Gebbed u Iftah 🙂 I always think of your dad when I make them and the good times we had back then! Couldn’t have this post without him!

  3. Omg these look so delicious and I saw them everywhere when I was in Europe! I love them and I am sure that the lard makes the pastry that much better in texture and I believe that it is so worth it too 😉 and love love the pics of your uncle too he must be such an awesome baker! Thank you for sharing and I might just try to make them one day too!

  4. Oh these are soo good Ivy! I love both the peas and ricotta ones but make the ricotta mainly because of the kids. You find these in every corner in Malta…night or day!

  5. Absolutely beautiful Georgina!! Andrea has continued the wonderful Camenzuli tradition, but there was something about the ones that Nannu made that I will miss. Love you 🙂

  6. wow, G, still baking away! and look at those lovely, lovely photos. Not only do you bake delicious sweets, you bake scrumptious savories too. My kids rave about it and wish I would replicate (but you know me!). When you start taking orders, please let me know. I’ll be the first in line!

  7. Pingback: » Scones Tal-Forn
  8. Hi there, I’m Gozitan living in Thailand. First of all very well done on your site. It was invaluable to me today as I Tried to replicate my beloved pastizzi to sell in a cafe I’m opening this Saturday. I was very pleased by the result, but I was unable to find lard or Crisco in Thailand. First time round I used all butter, definite thumbs down. Whilst the pastry came out good and flaky, the taste and texture was a million miles away from authentic pastizzi. Then I used exactly the same traditional method with pastry margarine and whilst the result was much better, (both the texture and taste were similar To the real deal but still needing that extra oomph, melt in your mouth, flake all over your clothes and car seat texture you get with the authentic pastry. Next experiment will be rendering my own lard and maybe mix it with some duck fat. Will keep you posted!

    1. Hi Joseph…I can’t tell you how happy I am that you found my post about pastizzi helpful!! First of all I want to wish you all the best on your cafe and I’m sure it’ll be successful because who does not like pastizzi right? Wow, Thailand!! It’s on my wish list to visit one day…just looks so exotic and gorgeous place to live…and now that I know there will be pastizzi there, well then, I have to make sure I visit 🙂

      I wonder if it is possible to import lard from somewhere because it is what creates the flakiness so needed for the right texture. I wish I could be more helpful there…

      I can’t wait to hear from you and see how it goes. If you like, I can put a link on my blog to your cafe:) Congratulations and all the best to you Joseph!

  9. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I am attempting to make these… first try! I have a couple of questions that you may help me with…is it traditional to use both lard and butter? because there is no conensus! when it comes to this part in the recipe..I searched, asked and no definite answer …some people use margarine/’stork’, others use butter or lard etc…in your recipe you use both can you tell me what the butter adds? is t for flavor and/or important for texture…Another question is in your view is lard better than Crisco? I bought some lard but I haven’t attempted anything further because I feel I need more understanding about the lard and butter part and to be honest your website was the best one I have found for this recipe. thank you again:-) PS In your opinion how close do you think your recipe resembles to the one you buy from a local pastizzeria in Malta?

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I have to say that this is a family recipe that’s been handed down to me by my relatives who have been making pastizzi for years and years…in fact since they came to the States back in the 50’s. I am not sure if the pastizzerias in Malta use a combination of lard and butter, but I know that when you do, you will get the flakiest and lightest pastizzi that you’ll ever taste. As far as why is butter used, I think it is for the flavour. Do I prefer lard to crisco? I do. I find that when I use lard, the dough is a little bit easier to manage. I use crisco when I plan to serve to my vegetarian friends. Lard (or crisco) is what makes the dough flaky. If this is your first time making it, don’t be discouraged…it does take practice. I’m so happy you found my post to be helpful for you to understand how to make pastizzi. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me. I’ll be glad to help any way I can. I wish you the best and I hope you like this recipe.

  10. Thank you so much for your quick and helpful response. This will be the first time making them. I will let you know the results:-)

  11. I am so glad I came across your website!!! Being Maltese, pastizzi were my absolute favorite thing growing up and now that I am older and love to cook it was one of the first things I wanted to learn to make. But my Nana, who lives 3,000 miles away, is the only one who knows how to make them and she doesn’t know how to put the recipe onto paper to be copied, it’s something she just does from years of experience with no measurements. I scoured the internet for a recipe, but none were authentic and basically all of them used store-bought pastry dough. So I basically gave up until I just found this when searching for gbejniet. I can’t wait to give it a try and have a homemade pastizzi again! Thank you for sharing this!

    1. I hope you find the experience and the results to your satisfaction:) I know how it is…when you long for something that brings back good memories and want it back. I hope this recipe gives you all that…all the best 🙂

    2. So happy that you are going to try making these pastizzi…I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
      I think it’s the Maltese way, not using a recipe. I watched my mum cook the same way…bit of this and bit of that and the results was never the same, but always fantastic! I hope these pastizzi remind you of nana…we owe a lot to our relatives huh… 🙂

  12. Hi, I have never made Pastizzi before but I remember my dad making them for a Maltese function in the uk. They were so delicious but as he is not with us anymore I thought that I would try and bring out my Maltese roots and have a go at making Pastizzi I tried this recipe of yours and I could not believe it but they were awesome!! I did not expect them to turn out as perfect as they did for my first attempt. Thank you so much for your recipe. So grateful.

    1. You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear that!! THANK YOU so much for writing back about your experience. So happy that you like the recipe and that now you will think of your dad while making them! All the best to you Christine 🙂

  13. My family was from Malta I use to watch my grandma make pastizzi.Always wished I would have learned more from her. Uncle sam owed a Maltese rest. In Detroit in 1940 he made the best Maltese food. Thank you for the reciepe can’t wait to try it. Uncle Joe ciantar would be so proud of me if he was still with us today.

    1. Hi Rhonda…I used to be hypnotised watching my uncles and aunties making pastizzi…to me it’s like an art. The delicately opening the dough and gently filling and folding and making each pastizz so perfect and all the same size!! Amazing! I hope you’re happy with the results…give us a shout back when you make them…tell us how you like them:) All the best!

  14. I am Maltese by birth and grew up loving the pastizzi my uncle in Toronto (which has a large Maltese community) made. We still buy frozen pastizzi wherever we can but now my parish is hosting an International Dinner and I am going to TRY to make my own pastizzi! I have watched a couple of videos and read a few articles but found yours most encouraging so I really am gonna go for it. I would appreciate any ‘beginner’s’ advice you could pass on. Pray for me and my pastizzi!!

    1. Oh too funny 🙂

      Saying a prayer would not be a bad way to start actually…that and taking a deep breath…:)
      No…you’ll be fine…all I can say is that it is a bit messy until you get the hang of it, but the results will surpass your expectation I can assure you.

      Tip One that comes to mind…one that my uncle had given me and now come to think of it, I should’ve included in the method…is that when you’re making the initial dough, to keep it on the dry side. Don’t add too much water…if you keep it dryer, it’ll much easier to work with when you add the butter.

      And Tip Two is, because you’re doing it for a function, I suggest you make them well ahead of time and freeze them, then you can test them and see if/how you like them. We might not have the same “likes” 🙂

      I wish you the best but I’m sure your guests will be wowed with your abilities and your pastizzi…let us know how it goes…good luck!

  15. Hello Georgina

    My name is Charles Attard, My family migrated to San Francisco in 1953. My family was from Mosta, and I just wanted to let you know that my mother always made her pastizzi’s exactly the way your family does. To tell you the truth, there is no other way.i
    I also make the ground beef, onion, peas and curry ones ,they also are very tasty. It is very nice of you to take the time and share this wonderful receipt with the world. I have nieces and nephews who also are now making there pastizzi’s but they use puff pastry. Puff pastry does the job if your in a hurry, but there’s nothing like the real thing. Keep up the good work..

    1. Nice to meet you Charles. I have heard that you can get pastizzi in San Francisco…is that right? I don’t go there very often and never really looked to tell you the truth. My favourite is Pastizzi tal-Pizelli but my family are not fans, so I lose out…but I’m still hoping that one day they’ll see what they’re missing and beg me to make some 🙂 I do make them occasionally with my own puff pastry, but you’re right, nothing like the real thing.

      Thank you so much for writing and your kind words…

    2. Hi Charles, did you know the Agius family on Brussels St. In SF? Sam and Rita Agius, their children: Mary, Frank and Sue. My dad is Frank Agius. My grandparents also immigrated here in the early 50’s.

  16. Thank you for posting this recipe. My dad is from Malta and his sister, my aunt, used to make pastizzi every time we would visit her. Only she and her husband, also with the last name of Camenzuli, could make them in our family. We did try to video record her while she was making them but as she didn’t measure anything our attempts turned out horrid. I will definitely give this a try.

    1. Oh what a coincidence! Camenzuli is not very common! Maybe we’re related from afar 🙂 I hope you like how they come out…let us know. The only bad thing is that you can’t stop at just one…

  17. Hi Georgina what a lovely site you have. Makes me homesick and ravenous all at the same time. Miss pastizzi like mad as cannot get them in the area I live in the UK. I do make a poor imitation pastry wise as I find the fillings easy to make. But now I have seen how you do the pastry I will have a go copying your above instruction. Even so not expecting miracles but hopefully it will ease the pain of not having the real McCoy. Now I wonder where I can get a bottle of Kinnie???? Best wishes.

    1. Thank you Vic…best part about this blog is hearing from people all over the world who tell me they are going to try the or have tried a recipe. I have to say that this dough does try my patience a little but it is worth trying. The good thing about this is that you can make a lot one day and freeze them and by the time you need to make more, you’d have forgotten the pain 🙂

      I thought you can find Kinnie in England, no? I finally found Chinotto here in California and I’m ever so happy…does not mean that I have not thought about trying to make it myself…ha ha…now THAT would be a winner post huh?

      I do have other recipes that I have not gotten around to posting…some very Maltese ones like Qaghat ta’l-ghasel because if I make them, I’d have to eat them…:) But if you have any other cravings, shoot me a message and I’ll see if I can help you out.

      Best to you too Vic 🙂

  18. Thank you so much for the recipe. My dad was maltese and we used to get pastizzi from a restaurant in Toronto. I made some using tenderflake and used cornbeef peas onion and curry. Also riccota and my kids used to love them.

    1. Hi Georgina,

      What a lovely name you have:)

      You know corned beef with curry and peas is my favourite…but when you’re a mum you end up making what your family likes and usually end up making ricotta myself. What is Tenderflake?

      1. Thankyou, your name is lovely also.
        Tenferflake is lard and it also comes already made as fkaky pastry which made it a little less time consuming.
        the pastizzis were good but not as good as the real thing.
        My three sons all prefered the pea ones even when they were young. Now my daughter in laws enjoy them. I also make a filling with chicken, spinach, red peppers and cheese. It is yummy.
        I have a question, what kind of oil is used?
        Thank you again for the recipe, I am trying today.
        I am so excited. My youngest grandson is turning one soon and I am making pastizzis to bring.
        Nice chatting with you.
        Take care and have a nice day.

        1. Your sons have good taste:) I have to gently introduce peas to my kids…they don’t like change and new things are accepted over time…

          As for the oil, I use what I have…normally vegetable oil or canola oil. I suppose you can use any oil really…maybe not olive oil as that is a bit too flavourful.

          Happy b’day to your grandson and all the best with your pastizzi…I hope you like… 🙂

  19. Hi Georgina. Thank you again for the recipe. I made some today as a trial run and they were amazing.
    You are so very sweet to share this recipe.
    Georgina.

  20. I made three different batches and froze them. I made some tonight and they were wonderful.
    Thank you so much again.
    Georgina.

  21. Have you ever made pastizzi without a dough hook? another words, by hand kneading only? My paddle is stuck to the mixer, adn won’t come off no matter what, so i can’t use the hooks… my mother used the hooks, but i know they were made for years before there was such a thing as a dough hook…i made the dough last night and it turned out terrible, probably because I didn’t know how to knead it correctly…any suggestions besides getting a new mixer with hooks, since i can’t afford it right now?

    1. Hi Dianne,

      I have made dough by hand before…not pastizzi dough but other types. I don’t see a reason why it would not turn out well. Add water gradually and leave it on the dry side…it’ll be better to stretch and roll that way. The other thing is do it with the Cake Beater (is that what’s stuck in the machine?) and then continue it by hand. I hope it works for you 🙂

  22. I am Maltese living in Canada and I love making all the Maltese seasonal treats for my children and grandchildren. You said that you like pastizzi tal-pizelli, but because your family do nor like them you rarely make them. Would you mind sending me or posting the recipe for the filling of the pastizzi tal-pizelli? And can one use the same filling for qassatat tal-pizelli?
    Thank you for your help.

  23. Hi I’m from Sydney Australia. Thank you for your recipe I am very grateful to you. My first attempt turned out great, my husband grew up in Malta and loved them. God Bless.

  24. Hi Georgina. I am going to make your recipe, it looks so yummy! I love pastizzi. I live in Melbourne Australia. I just want to know, is it salted butter you use? And also, how many pastizzi, approximately does one recipe make? Thank you. I’m so excited to attempt this recipe.

    1. Hi Leah,

      Love your name first of all 🙂 So I usually use unsalted butter. I would think you can use salted and then just omit the salt. If I’m not mistaken (I never really counted) but I would say I get about 2 to 3 dozen pastizzi depending on how big you make them. I hope you like them.

      1. I don’t know where the inspiration came with my parents, i think my dad liked the name, thank you for that. Thank you so much. I have tried this recipe, but I need to keep trying it so I can perfect it. 🙂 They are really good, time consuming, but so worth it!

        1. So glad you decided to try them Leah. I definitely hear you about time consuming. I’ve been making them for years and it still takes a lot of time and patience to make a batch. But persistence is key. Thank you for your message 🙂

  25. Hi where can i fine the ( Crisco all vegetable shortening ) in Malta or any other vegetable shortening please i cant find any …

      1. Actually i need it for something else but have to be vegetable shortening
        And the crisco is perfect but cant find any in malta

  26. I was either laughing or smiling while reading this blog. My grandmothers, both Maltese, made pastizzi all the time. I learned by doing. We spread the dough so thinly that it stretched across the kitchen table! Going to show one of my daughters how to make it this weekend!

    My mom was Georgia, my grandma was Maggie Attard, my great grandmothers were Georgina Attard Pullicino and Hermione Bonnici!

    1. Aww…I’m glad this post brought you some wonderful memories. You are right, the dough needs to be stretched very thin…so thin it sometimes breaks. Not the easiest dough to work with but the results are fantastic! All the best Teresa 🙂

  27. Hey Georgina, thanks so very much. I am Maltese by birth but raised in Canada. Parents have made pastizzi lots, so I never needed to try to make them myself. But, my parents are now aged and unable to make them anymore, so by necessity I plan to start making them. Thanks so much for this recipe and for the article on lard. The lard will make a positive difference I’m sure. Just wondering- would you happen to have an old Maltese recipe for a coffee cake that has raisins and cherries in it? My mom has trouble remembering the amount of the ingredients. Best to you and thanks for your lovely blog.

  28. Hello Georgina, I have tried different recipes for pastizzi but no luck. My husband is from Qormi, Malta and I am always trying to make foods for him. My pastizzi from before have been hard, dry and too greasy. Your recipe is absolutely perfect. They came out flaky every time. For sure it is the lard but the recipe on the whole is great. As big as I make them though they still shrink up quite a bit. I cut them in 2 inch pieces and flatten out to almost 5 inches. Does anyone actually get them to look like the ones from the store, sort of wider? Very much appreciated. I can’t believe that I actually got the flake and crunch.

    1. Hi Diana…so glad you found this recipe to your delight 🙂 I must say I agree about how light and flaky they come out. It is a shame that lard has such a bad name because it makes for the flakiest dough ever when used. So not sure what to tell you about “shrinkage”. Try letting the dough rest a bit before you shape them. I find that that helps opening the dough too. As for making them look like the ones bought at the store, it takes practice…so keep making them, I’m sure you’ll get them to look like them soon 🙂

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