Two very popular snacks in Malta are Qassatat and Pastizzi. You can call them cousins with pastizzi being the posher or richer of the two. I find qassatat are the easier ones to make so we’ll be tackling that one first and then later on, we’ll try our hand at making pastizzi.
There’s all sort of different fillings you can use for the qassatat and ricotta ones seem to be the most favoured. You can add raisins or sauteed onions or fresh fava beans with the ricotta. These types of fillings are sought after during Lent when it’s customary to fast.
Other types of fillings include meat and anchovies, but really, you can make as many types of filling as your creativity and taste will take you.
So this is your basic Ricotta Qassatat Recipe
1 lb all purpose flour
8 oz chilled butter cut up in cubes
1 egg (optional)
pinch of salt
about 1/2 cup water
Start by putting the flour and butter and salt in your stand mixer and work it until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the egg and water and knead until it comes together.
Take it out and knead it into a ball and let it rest at room temperature for about half an hour.
pinch of salt
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (optional)
Some ricotta is more creamy than others and you might only need one egg…so use your judgement. The filling should not be too liquidy or it would ooze out of the dough.
Put all the ingredients together and stir vigorously.
Roll half the dough into two long ropes about two inches thick and cut it up into two inch chunks.
Take one piece and open it up into a circle about 3-4 inch diameter depending on how big you like them.
Put a dollop of the ricotta mixture in the middle.
Take the outside of the dough and start pleating while turning the dough about an inch each time until you get to the first pleat.
Continue this until you’ve used up the dough and ricotta.
Brush on a bit of egg wash.
Bake at 400 degree oven for about half an hour depending on your oven until they’re golden brown
44 thoughts on “Ricotta Qassatat”
Omg those look like they fit for feeding kings and queens those look very delicious!!! And how beautiful are those pictures too love your format of putting all the pictures in one sitting maybe I should do tht instead 🙂
Lovely post & very easy explained loved watching my Nanna Polly making these I also love the corned beef ones she used to make
Ivy, I find it’s easier than posting them bit by bit too which is what makes it even better 🙂
Having just got back from a week in Malta, we really loved the qassatat and date rolls. I am definately going to try making some to have at home.
Hi Deirdre…what a lovely name you have. So nice to see you here. I hope you enjoy these qassatat when you make them. I always have some ricotta ones and some meat ones in the freezer as they are perfect at any time of day. I miss Malta soo much! One of these days I’ll post a recipe for the Imqaret too…they’re usually one of the first things I go for when I visit our little Island. Thank you for your comment!
When I made the qassatat with ricotta and cooked them they were full with ricotta ,but when they start to cool down they look half empty why? What am I doing wrong?
I know exactly what you mean. You’re doing nothing wrong. I think this is because of the egg. Maybe use less egg?
Thank you for the recipe, brings back a piece of my childhood. Both of my parents have passed now but they were both born on the island of Malta, moving to the states in their early twenties. My mother also made a stuffed date with ricotta and shaved chocolate, you don’t happen to have that recipe as well, do you?
No, I’m sorry, I’ve never made the stuffed dates with ricotta. http://pinchofyum.com/bacon-wrapped-dates-with-goat-cheese in case you want to try 🙂
Can any one help me please ,when I make qassatat they go flat when I bake them .tks
I think that the pastry is not stiff enough.Can you try it with a third less fat?
I think instead of putting less fat, try eliminating the egg in the dough. I sometimes make it that way as well.
I’m sitting at work in San Francisco right now thinking “I REALLY want an qassatat right now”. But they don’t even sell pastizzi here so how’s that going to happen?
Then I stumbled across your blog. Thank you for the recipe! I was going to start by making my own gbejniet for soup, but I think my first stop will be qassatat!
I can guarantee you would like the pastizzi if you follow the recipe Katherine. It takes a bit of patience, but you won’t be disappointed. Now I fancy some Widow’s Soup 🙂
Thank you so much for your beautiful maltese recipes.
I just love them.
God bless. Mary
I’m glad you Mary, and thank you for your sweet comment 🙂
You are welcomed, it is so nice to see the Maltese recipes
out there for people to share, and continue with the Maltese
So thank you once again
Amazing memories. So proud of my delicious Maltese heritage
Jennifer Sinerco Morris
I too am very proud of our Maltese Heritage, my youngest daughter leaves today, to visit some countries in Europe, and our homeland Malta and Gozo, every 6 weeks we have coffee after Mass, and Qasatat and Pastizzi go very well with all that are there, sometimes I like to add some peas and sultanas to the qasatat to have a slightly different taste, even a little olive oil
to the pastry whilst it is still in a ball, seems to soften it.
So thank you Georgina, for making this possible. Mary
If I’m not mistaken, qassatat with ricotta and raisins (or even with gbejniet instead of ricotta) comes from the Island of Gozo, am I right? I will try adding some oil next time in my dough…thank you for the tip. So glad you enjoyed this post. We have a lot of wonderful traditions and customs and need to keep them going. Thank you for posting your thoughts Mary.
Yes Georgina , I believe Qassatat with sultanas or raisins do
come from the Island of Gozo.
Yes it comes from Gozo.Qassatat with ricotta and raisins,with peas or broad beans when in season.Of course we use them frequently during lent when we are not supposed to eat meat.
I just came across your post fot the qassatat. They look beautiful. Have you ever tried making the gbejniet ?
I do have the recipe for gbejniet on my blog. I’ve never made qassatat with gbejniet though it is on my to do list 🙂
I’ve used this recipe several times and as a Maltese citizen who hasn’t been living in Malta, I am so grateful for this recipe. I’ve tried enough qassatat (more than enough) to know when a recipe is authentic and real and this recipe is!
I give it five start and two thumbs up.
Thank you so much for your comment! You made me very happy 🙂
Your recipe for qassatat is very similar to my moms and what we made, only difference is my parents were from Gozo and yes I add raisins and instead of Parmesan we add feta cheese. Ratio is about 4 to 1 but to taste I like more feta.
I love qaghaq tal-ghasel and can only get them when we go to Toronto or family visit from there. I’ve tried to make them but they never taste right, either to bitter or flat. Have you tried them.
May I refrigerate or freeze the pastry ? I am unable to complete the recipe now
Sorry for the late reply, but yes, you can freeze the dough. I even freeze the qassatat before baking so I can bake them when I need them and put in as many as I need.
Hi thanks for the recipe of qassatat is it possible to use bought pastries i love to have a go to make them i ‘m married to a Australian lady and she love them I took her to Malta in 1994 and she hasn’t stopped talking about them thanks Laurie
This is just my opinion, but the bought pastry I’ve tried is usually very crumbly because they’re main use is for pies. Try to have a go at making your own. I bet you’ll do a great job. Your wife will love you even more for it 🙂
These days I don’t even add the egg in the dough mixture and I like it even better. Good luck 🙂
When I do the qassatat especially doing the pleats will come nice but when I cook they open. What I m doing wrong ?
Hello Emanuel, if the pastry is a little dry you may need to slightly wet the pastry where it folds with a little water or with beaten egg .
But pastry shouldnt be dry.
I find that when I bake them from frozen, they keep their shape perfectly. I hope this helps.
For your advice
I am happy to see all your recipes. I espec. want to try the Qassatat. My whole family (8 kids) all make great pastizzi most holidays, esp at Xmas and Thanksgiving. I and my two sisters were born in Malta.
We three came to America with my parents in 1951; I was 6. My parents cooked Maltese food everyday and does anyone remember tomato past sandwiches with olive oil, capers or anchovy on them, or just plain tom. paste with olive oil patted between the 2 bread slices (Preferably a nice crusty French bread). I will definitely keep checking back to read recipes and try some. Thank you Georgina. I will send this info you provide to my sisters. They will appreciate it.
Hobz bizeyt or ftira
Definitely still a Maltese staple!
How do you keep the dough from being soggy or undercooked on the bottom.. thanks
I have to say, I never had that problem myself. Could it be that your ricotta is too liquid. I’d suggest you let it drip for an hour in some cheesecloth before you add the eggs. And make sure your oven is preheated. If you still have that problem, turn them upside down at the end and bake them an extra five mins. It might be your oven that is at fault. I hope this helps.
When doing these I add some semolina to both the dough and the filling too. I do not use neither eggs nor ricotta. I make the latter myself.
If you don’t use ricotta, what do you use. This is just one way of making qassatat. I have made them with gbejniet and also with corned beef filling. Lots of choices. Semolina us a great addition too. Thank you for your tips