Traditional Maltese Figolla

FIGOLLA  -  By Doris Fenech


MYTHS SYMBOL -

According to mythology symbols were presented as a gift to the mother Goddess Astarte, role as combined heavenly mother and earth mother, as prayers for good harvest, fertility, problems, tranquility and paganism. Pictorial representations often show her symbols, the dove, the horse, the lion, the sphinx, a star within a circle indicating the planet Venus. Homage was paid to the Goddesses in the form of honey, beer, wine, incense, animals.These offering were an important part of honoring the goddess and insuring future blessing for them self and the community.

The tradition of "Figolli", has its roots in ancient time thousands of year back, it is possible that some of the mythology symbols represent animals, stars, and eggs (symbols of fertility), were gradually associated with popular "Figolli", templates.

FIGULINA -

Figolla, probably from Sic. and It. figure with the substitution of l instead of r like often happens in Maltese (e.g. artal for altar) and ollowing radoppiamento, i.e. figure - figulla;.

Figulina is "picciola", figure of a man or women of paste cooked to the furnace that it holds to breast, or the hands one or more uovi inks color pavonaccio. These little figures are worked in the Saint Simana, give the children because they ate them to opening of Passover Di Risurrezione". Giova to bring back here famous on interesting one of Bernardo; "It deserves famous special the use delle figolle, than one studious English succeed in to say to be", equally prevailing in Malta how much in whichever other city or province of Italy". This figolla ( figure, Figulina) is crushed mainly paschal of the famous figured type antropozoomorfo, that it can therefore represent a Turk, one women, a horse, and then also one star, a basket, one grill, which an entire egg is the entire egg in the center,, stopped from crossing o strips o the same paste (cfr, the canestrelli genovesi and the doves of others you leave of Italy), red colouring in (in order representing the blood of Redentore). The curious such feminine shapes of canestrelli anthropomorphous could also recall talora the shapes steatopige of the primitiva maltese scolutra; but we do not want to rick hypothesis on therefore I arched to us fornelli.


FIGOLLA -

The "figolla", was appropriate as a traditional Maltese sweet, baked during the holy week and donate to their family, friends, and small children to be eaten on Easter Sunday. The earliest recalled "figolli", were made of sweet pastry and decorated with dyed eggs symbol of fertility. The eggs were natural dye sundered shades form onion skin, vegetables and fruits to option bright peacock chart - blue, green, yellow, white, brown or red.

The glorious "figolli", became more popular with children and adults when almond "intrita", filling was placed  between two similar shapes of pastry and embellished with icing ("ġelu"), or chocolate coating. A half chocolate egg wrapped in colourful foil paper is put on the shape to make it more attractive for children. On human shaped "figolla", an oleograph depicting a head adorned in an old costume used to be stuck on the icing. Sometimes the "figolla", came in a shape common to Christian symbolism such as a lamb, a fish or a cross.                 

Many housewives still enjoy making delicious "figolli", in the company of young children who draw their favorite shapes on cardboard or use ready made templates about 20cm to 25cm long in shapes of Maltese boat, siren, butterfly, dive, lamb, a male figure or a lady figure.


Source;

Archaeology and Fertility Cult in the Ancient Mediterranean Edited by Anthony Bonanno

Melita Historica; Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 3(1961)2(31-54) (p. 31)

Antichi Maltesi Foods by G. Cassar-Pullicino

Astarte - New word Encyclopedia 

spirralgoddess.com.phtemp.comastarte.html




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TRADITIONAL  FIGOLLA  RECIPE

Ingredients

400g plain flour
170g sugar
170g margarine
2 eggs slightly beaten
 pinch ground aniseed
1 lemon juice
1 orange juice
1 orange zest
figolla shapes
Natural dyed Easter eggs

Method

- Rub the flour and margarine and sugar well.
- Make a hollow in the center and put the orange zest, aniseed, eggs.
- And sufficient lemon and orange juice to make a dough
- Leave the dough to stay for 1 hr.

On a well floured surface roll out the pastry 2 cm tick and cut two different "figolla", shapes, decorate with the dye egg and place on a greased try. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.


DYEING EASTER EGGS

Choose the dye material -
Blue - fresh red cabbage
Green - fresh spinach leaves
Red - fresh beets
Yellow - orange peel or carrots tops
Brown - strong coffee

Put eggs and plenty of dyeing material in a large pan and cover with little water.
Bring water to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for15 minutes.
Place the eggs out of the water so they will not crack.
If you need a darker colour cover the eggs with the remaining coloured water and leave it over night.


The "figolla", is a Maltese figurative shape of pastry, baked during the holy week for children to be eaten on Easter Sunday. Traditionally, it was made from flour pastry and decorated with an egg as a symbol of life for the family and friends. The eggs were tinted with bright peacock colours - blue, green, yellow, white, brown or red.

figolla1.jpg

Basket with eggs


The earliest recalled Maltese "figolli", were made of different shapes - a horse, star, small figure of a moor or a female holding an egg or more in her hands or chest. Sometimes the shape was that of a grilled basket with an egg placed in the center held by a pastry cross.

The "figolla", became more popular with children and adults when date and almond ("intrita"), filling were placed between two similar shapes of pastry and embellished with icing or chocolate coating. A half chocolate egg wrapped in colourful foil paper is put on the "figolla", to make it more attractive for children.

figolla2.jpg

Figure shape figolla


If a figolla had a figurative shape, an oleograph depicting a head adorned in an old costume used to be stuck on the icing. Sometimes the figolla came in a shape common to Christian symbolism such as a lamb, fish or cross.

king.jpg

An old Oleograph

Most of the time, housewives enjoyed making" figolli", in the company of young children who drew their favorite shapes on cardboard - duck, rabbit, fish, horse, butterfly, car, Maltese boat or using ready-made templates about 20cm to 25cm long. Nowadays exquisite "figolli ", in the shape of - heart, star, lamb, siren, a male or female figure are still given as a Easter token to friends and relatives to keep the tradition going. Usually "figolli", are served with tea or coffee.


Figolla recipe

Ingredients

400g plain flour
170g sugar
170g margarine
2 eggs slightly beaten

1 lemon juice
1 orange juice
1 orange zest

pinch of ground aniseed
figolla shapes
Natural dyed Easter eggs

Method

- Rub the flour and margarine and sugar well.
- Make a hollow in the center and put the orange zest, eggs.
- Add anisette and sufficient lemon and orange juice to make a dough
- Leave the dough to stay for 1 hr.

On a well floured surface roll out the pastry 2 cm tick and cut two different "figolla", shapes, decorate with the dye egg and place on a greased try. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.


DYEING EASTER EGGS

eggs.jpg

Choose the dye material

Blue - fresh red cabbage
Green - fresh spinach leaves
Red - fresh beets
Yellow - orange peel or carrots tops
Brown - strong coffee

Put eggs and plenty of dyeing material in a large pan and cover with little water.
Bring water to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for15 minutes.
Place the eggs out of the water so they will not crack.
If you need a darker colour cover the eggs with the remaining coloured water and leave it over night.


Sources:

Astarte- New Word Encyclopedia

Archaeology and Fertility Cult in the Ancient Mediterranean

Edited by Anthony Bonanno


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