Treacle rings

    1 hour 30 min

    Qaghaq ta’ l-Ghasel or treacle rings as they’re called in English, are by far Malta’s favourite traditional Christmas dessert. Although not excessively difficult to make, they take quite a lot of patience and time to prepare. You can buy these delicious pastries all year round from confectionaries, but they are mostly consumed during the Christmas season.

    Malta Island, Malta
    20 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • For the filling
    • 240ml treacle or honey
    • 240ml water
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    • 1 orange, zested and juiced
    • 1/2 tablespoon butter
    • 35ml anisette
    • 1/2 teaspoon orange flower water
    • 167g semolina
    • For the pastry
    • 300g plain flour
    • 50g caster sugar
    • 50g semolina
    • 300g margarine or butter
    • water to bind

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Extra time:10min cooling  ›  Ready in:1hr30min 

    1. For the filling: Place all filling ingredients except the semolina in a large saucepan.
    2. Slowly bring to the boil and then add the semolina little by little, stirring all the time to avoid lumps from forming. Cook for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.
    3. Transfer to a bowl and let it stand for about 12 hours or overnight.
    4. For the pastry: Sift the flour, add the sugar and semolina and rub in the margarine or butter.
    5. Slowly add enough cold water to bind and knead until you get a soft, pliable dough. Let the pastry rest for at least 30 minutes before using.
    6. Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas 5.
    7. To make the treacle rings: Roll out the pastry and cut into 10cm x 18cm strips. Roll the filling into sausage shapes and place along the middle of the pastry strips.
    8. Wet the edges of the pastry and fold over the filling. Bring the two ends together to form the rings.
    9. Dust a baking tray with semolina and place the rings on the tray.
    10. Make small slashes with a sharp knife all around the top of the rings.
    11. Bake in the preheated oven until the pastry is a pale golden colour, 20 to 30 minutes.

    Make ahead

    The filling has to be made the day before and assembling these honey rings requires time and patience.

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