17 January 2019
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Recipes - Riċetti

Carnival Recipe


The Maltese cuisine is still widely spread and enjoyed on the islands of Malta and Gozo. Certain events celebrated in Malta are characterised by particular traditional foods.   One of these traditional foods is the Maltese Prinjolata which is associated with Carnival.
The origin of the name ‘carnival’ is disputed since there are various explanations of this word. Some say that the name comes from the Italian carne levare which means to “remove meat”, since meat is prohibited during Lent. Others say that it come from the Late Latin expression carne vale meaning “farewell to meat”, signifying that those were the last days when one could eat meat before the fasting of Lent.
Carnival celebrations were introduced in Malta by the Knights of the Order of St John in the 1400s. The Knights who enjoyed themselves partying, found that Carnival is a great opportunity to drink, dress up and enjoy life. These celebrations soon became part of Maltese tradition and improved as the years went by.
Carnival in Malta is celebrated during the 5 days preceding Ash Wednesday. These are five days of festivities and madness, with colourful floats parading along the main streets in the capitals of our islands, that is Valletta in Malta and Victoria in Gozo; children dressed up in beautiful costumes and adults partying in the streets and various parties organised around the islands. Carnival has become synonymous with the picturesque village of Nadur in Gozo where people from all quarters of life in Malta and Gozo, particularly the young generation and even tourists flow into this village to celebrate this annual event.
The traditional Maltese Carnival dessert, which is known as Prinjolata, got its name from ‘pine nuts’ which in Maltese mean prinjol.   This is a special cake in the form of a dome. Its main ingredients are sponge cake, pine nuts, chocolate, cherries and almonds, covered with meringue and decorated with glacè cherries, pine nuts and drizzled with chocolate. Traditional Prinjolata is beautifully displayed in all confectionaries’ windows during carnival time. It is huge in size and sold by weight per piece. Nowadays it is also formed in small shaped domes, individually packed and sold as a whole.
Prinjolata is a very rich dessert, rich in ingredients and rich in calories but for just once a year, during Carnival time, make sure not to miss this Maltese delicacy.
Sponge Ingredients:
6 eggs
225 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
225 g sifted self-raising flour
Break eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly. Add sugar and vanilla and whisk well until thick, creamy and almost white in colour, leaving a trail when the whisk is removed. 
Then fold in gently the sieved flour and the baking powder with a metal spoon. Place mixture into a lined tin with baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. Avoid opening the oven during baking.  (Sponge is best baked a day ahead.)
Filling ingredients:
4 tablespoons whisky
150g roasted pine nuts
150g roasted chopped white almonds
150g quartered glacè cherries
150g candied peel
150g chocolate bits
Butter Cream ingredients:
375g margarine (room temperature)
7½ tablespoons sifted icing sugar
400ml sweet condensed milk
2 tablespoons vermouth
2 teaspoons vanilla
Decoration ingredients:
50g halved glacè cherries
50g pine nuts
Cooking chocolate
Break the sponge into small cubes and place in a large bowl.
Sprinkle the sponge pieces with whisky.
Add the nuts, cherries, candied peel and chocolate bits and mix well.
Place the margarine, cut in cubes, in an electric mixer bowl and beat well with sugar until mixture is smooth.  Gradually add the condensed milk, vanilla and vermouth and continue beating.
Spoon the cream into the bowl containing the sponge and the other ingredients and mix together using a wooden spoon. Transfer this mixture into the mixer bowl and mix well.
This recipe will make one large Prinjolata or else divide the mixture into three smaller ones.
Cover the inside of a bowl with aluminium foil and fill it with some of the mixture. Press mixture well and cover with cling film. Refrigerate overnight or at least 5 hours.
Then remove Prinjolata from the bowl and place on a plate.
Beat the cream in a mixer bowl until thick.
Cover the prinjolata with cream and decorate with cherries and pine nuts.
Melt the chocolate by using the bagne marie method and drizzle all over the prinjolata.
14th February 2010
Information and recipe contributed by the ThinkSite.eu Team.


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