Sunday, 17 May 2009

Eating Eurovision '09 and the coconut pastries

Thanks to fellow foodie and blogger, Andrew Webb of and of Channel 4's Big British Food Map fame, I've kick-started this blog again and will try to make it a much more regular thing.

It all started when Andrew added me on twitter asking for help in his quest of Maltese food for the Eating Eurovision '09 challenge – where "25 food bloggers eat the cuisine of the 25 Eurovision finalists in 25 hours all within the M25".

Malta, more famous for its beaches than its cuisine, proved to be a bit of a tough one to source in London. Even the Maltese themselves find it hard, with only very limited suppliers of food from back home available and none at all of certain products.

I was more than honored that Andrew asked for my help and jumped at it, trying to point him in the direction of others who could source Kinnie and pastizzi for him (a native soft drink and pastry snack) and agreed to let him borrow the only Maltese cookbook I could find in the UK that was in English.

What really surprised me was that he asked to interview me. I raced home to grab the book and finding a spare half an hour on my hands decided to make him pastini tal-coconut – a sweet coconut pastry. He has kindly reproduced the recipe on his blog here.

Here it is again, with step-by-step photographs:

Pastini Tal-Coconut (Coconut Pastries)

Makes roughly 4 dozen (in the photos I have halved the amounts)

250g plain white flour
250g butter (unsalted or salted is up to you, I like using salted since it gives that lovely salted caramel taste)
250g sugar (normally white, but I prefer brown)
500g desiccated coconut
a few drops of vanilla essence
4 eggs
Glacé cherries and/or almonds for decoration


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.

2. Rub the flour and butter together until it resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Mix in the sugar and coconut.

4. Add the vanilla essence and whisk the eggs into the mixture, working it through all the dry ingredients. It might seem a small amount of egg, but once it's thoroughly mixed through it should resemble cookie dough.

5. Take about a heaped tablespoon and roll into balls.

6. Set out onto baking sheets, decorate with glacé cherries or almonds and bake for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool a little before serving, makes a fantastic tea-time treat.


eyedropper said...

And they were delicious! My wife and I finished the last one this evening with a bottle of Cisk. Glad you're blogging again. You are the UK's Malta food expert!

Mer said...

I'm sure there are plenty others out there that know far more than me. I'm just more vocal about it.

Glad you liked the pastries! I had to hide the batch I made last night so we wouldn't eat them all. lol

Next up I'll make "Qhaq tal-Zia Marie" (qhaq are like continental biscuits, not sure how to translate them properly).

Su-Lin said...

Ooh, I'm very tempted to try these treats now - saw them on Andrew's blog too! Yummy!

Mer said...

They're dead easy to do. Going to do another batch of biscuits in the week (they're plaited things with lemon & orange zest, flavoured with cloves and sesame seeds - my personal favourite for dunking in tea)