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Here's one I did earlier. It's our Minimalta mascot.

The Malta Easter sweet you won't be able to resist

25 March 2019 | Gattaldo

It's rather simple in design and it involves a good dose of sugar.

The traditional sweet that Maltese children and adults alike look forward to biting into on Easter Sunday is the figolla, a flavoursome pastry and marzipan combination that comes in various shapes and sizes. Its religious symbolism is that of feasting after fasting - the new life after death. Traditionally the most common shape was that of the fish and it represented Christ.

On my latest day visit to the beautiful island of Sicily (the ferry journey from Valletta to Sicily takes only 1 hr 45 mins) I discovered similar Easter sweets which the Sicilians call Pupi.

Pupi take the shape of animals, persons, doves (in Catania) or that of a simple basket. Further north, in Abruzzo (near Rome) they are covered in chocolate, or sometimes in a black mixture of sugar and cocoa called gileppo and they're called paste nere (Black pastry).

One could almost assume the figolla came from Italy - the name figolla derives from figura, italian for figure - but the presence of ground almonds and citrus flavourings seems to point to Arab provenance. Similar ingredients are found in sweet recipes from Sicily and places across the Eastern Mediterranean which have been under Arab rule. It's rather difficult to say for sure because recipes adapt to people's tastes and therefore evolve differently when they travel.

The figolla consists of two pastry layers with almond paste in the middle and icing on top. In an interview on the Times of Malta, university lecturer Dr Noel Buttigieg claims that the references to the Maltese traditional Easter pastry date back to the second half of the 18th century. However he also points out  that icing would probably have been missing from the recipe since sugar would not have been widely available until the 20th century.

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