How to make Maltese Figolli Cookies

These almond and marzipan delights you'll see all over Malta over the Easter season and often in all kinds of shapes. This is the perfect recipe to flex those icing skills or create your own variation of flavors.

Traditionally these cookies are larger than most (25x15cm!) so if you find that larger are cutters hard to come by, simply make a template using parchment paper. Shapes used include fish, ducks, birds, rabbits or sheep, but again, feel free to get a little creative!




  • 500g all purpose flour
  • 200g softened butter
  • 150g baker's sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest and juice of an orange
  • 2 egg yolks


  • 300g baker's sugar
  • 450g almond meal
  • 2 egg whites
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon orange blossom water


  • 330g icing sugar, sieved
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • Food coloring


  • 300g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 egg white
  • Piping bag
  • Optional: Chocolate eggs and small silver balls to decorate 


  1. Mix 400g of the flour and softened butter in a bowl using your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs.
  2. Add the sugar, lemon and orange zest to the bowl and mix.
  3. Add in the yolks, juice of the orange, and mix thoroughly. If the dough is too wet, gradually add the remaining flour until you reach the right consistency.
  4. Knead thoroughly (approximately 5 minutes).
  5. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  6. Meanwhile, mix all the filling ingredients together. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  7. Remove both items from the fridge.
  8. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  9. Divide the pastry and filling into four portions.
  10.  Take one of the pastry portions and divide into two. Roll out two pieces of pastry with a rolling pin and using a cutter (or parchment paper template) make two equal shapes.
  11.  On one of the shapes, fill with a portion of the filling, making sure to leave room around the edges.
  12.  Brush the edges with water and place the remaining shape over the filled shape.
  13.  Place on a lined baking tray.
  14.  Any excess pastry, simply add to your other dough.
  15.  Continue the process until all 4 figolli have been made.
  16.  Bake in the oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
  17.  Remove from the oven. They should be light brown in colour and still a bit soft. Allow to cool.
  18.  Mix the ingredients for the icing glaze together.
  19.  Use food coloring to colour some of the mixture in different colours.
  20.  Cover each of your cookies in different colours. Pastel colours are usually favoured, but it's entirely your choice.
  21.  If using, place a chocolate egg in the centre of each cookie.
  22.  Mix the royal icing ingredients together until it becomes a smooth but stiff white paste.
  23.  Fill a piping bag with a small serrated nozzle and decorate the edges of the covered cookies as you wish.
  24.  Leave to set and enjoy!