Flaky, buttery pastry filled with a vegan ricotta mixture and baked until golden and crispy. Just one bite and you will fall in love with these Maltese Vegan Pastizzi recipe.
Pastizzi are a traditional Maltese pastry dough filled with ricotta, mashed peas, or peas and ground beef. These flaky pastries are one of Kat’s fondest childhood treats that she thought she had to give up when she went vegan. Instead, this year she decided to try and make a vegan version that she could enjoy and share with her family. After months of testing batch, after batch – she finally developed a recipe that she loved and her Maltese mother approved of.
Kat grew up with pastizzi, however through the recipe development process she took inspiration and learned from a number of different sources: Maltese Grandmother Making Pastizzi, The Art of Pastizzi, and The Hidden Secret of the Perfect Traditional Maltese Pastizzi.
What are pastizzi?
Pastizzi are a traditional savoury flaky pastry from Malta. Typically filled with ricotta or mushy peas, but we have also seen them filled with a pea and ground beef mixture. They’re a popular and well-known Maltese treat made with a flaky pastry shell. They’re a labour-of-love, but worth every second you put into them.
Top tips for making Vegan Pastizzi with Ricotta:
- Watch the video. Vegan Maltese Pastizzi can be difficult to make, so we recommend before starting to watch through the video for the recipe as well! Seeing someone make the recipe before can help the end result.
- Take your time. This recipe take a long time to make but all that time is worth it, we promise. Don’t take shortcuts here. We will offer some tips throughout the recipe on how you can shorten the recipe time, but as stated in the recipe we recommend making the recipe with our best practices in mind.
- The pastizzi dough shouldn’t be sticky. We’re not looking for a dry dough, but we definitely don’t want a sticky dough. You should be able to knead the dough on a clean surface without any flour and without it sticking to your hands or the surface.
- Let it rest. Most of time of this recipe is for resting the dough – DON’T SKIP THESE STEPS. This is the key to making the perfect pastizz.
- Roll out the dough as thin as possible. To create delicious flaky layers the dough needs to be as thin as possible, so thin that you can see the surface through the dough. Any thicker and your pastizzi will not turn out.
- Use a sharp knife. Like when cutting cinnamon rolls, use a very sharp knife to avoid crushing the layers.
- Use parchment paper to roll out. We roll out our pastry shells with a rolling pin, but to keep the layers in tact be sure to use a sheet of parchment paper below and on top of the pastry when rolling it out.
- Don’t overfill. Overfilling the pastry will result in pastry that bursts and leaks. Though pastry opening up in the oven isn’t a bad thing (especially when making ricotta ones), overfilling is still not traditional.
- Bake until a deep golden brown. To ensure the pastries are baked all the way through, cook them until they are a deep golden brown. Each oven is different but it should be at least 25 minutes.
Vegan Pastizzi Recipe FAQ:
How do you store vegan pastizzi?
Pastizzi are best when eaten the same day, so we recommend that you only make as many as you can eat in one day. This recipe makes a batch of 20, but you can easily cut this recipe in half or using the freezing instructions below to enjoy pastizzi as you crave them.
Can you freeze vegan pastizzi?
Yes! Most Maltese bakeries sell pastizzi baked and frozen. To freeze these, make the recipe up until the point you form the pastizzi. Then arrange on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen. Place individually frozen pastizzi in an air-tight bag. As needed, remove the frozen pastizzi from the freezer, placed on a lined baking sheet and bake at 400F for at least 25 minutes or until golden brown.
How do you know when they are fully baked?
The best way to tell is the colour. Look on the top and bottom of the pastries and look for a deep golden brown colour.
How to make Vegan Ricotta Pastizzi:
Vegan Ricotta Pastizzi
- 480 g (4 cups) all-purpose flour
- 7 g (1 tsp) salt
- 240 mL (1 cup) water, (plus 1 tbsp more if needed)
- 15 mL (1 tbsp) olive oil
- 113 g (½ cup) vegan butter
- 96 g (½ cup) vegetable shortening
- 350 g (1 block) extra firm tofu
- 30 g almonds
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 45 g (3 tbsp) miso paste
- 7 g (1 tsp) salt
- 15 g (⅓ cup) nutritional yeast
- 15 mL (1 tbsp) olive oil
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) non-dairy milk
- 200 g silken tofu
- pinch pepper
- In a bowl combine vegan butter and vegetable shortening and mix until combined. Set in the fridge while you don't use it.
- To a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, add all-purpose flour and salt – mix until combined. Add the oil and half the water and mix with the dough hook. With the mixer on medium-low slowly add in remaining water until a smooth, not sticky, dough forms. If needed use the an extra splash of water to make a smooth dough, adding 1 tsp at a time. You shouldn't need more than 1 tbsp or so.
- Once the dough is all together remove from the bowl and knead by hand until smooth, about 2-4 minutes. You should be able to knead the dough without it crumbling or sticking to the surface of your table/counter. If it's sticking you added too much water and should add a dusting of flour to fix.
- Rub the dough ball all around with 1-2 tsp of the butter/shortening mixture, this will keep it from drying out as it rests. Place back in the mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel/cloth. It's best to let the dough rest overnight on the counter, but if you're in a pinch it should be rested AT LEAST 60 minutes – longer if you can.
- While the dough rests, make the ricotta filling. To a large bowl crumble the extra firm tofu into small pieces. Set aside. To a high-speed blender add almonds, lemon juice, miso paste, salt, nutritional yeast, olive oil, non-dairy milk, silken tofu and pepper. Blend until smooth, then pour the mixture into the bowl with the crumbled tofu. Toss until combined and set in the fridge until needed.
- Once the dough has rested, on a large (your table may be necessary) clean, smooth surface spread a thin layer of the butter mixture so the dough doesn't stick.
- Place the rested dough on the surface and using your hands press out the dough slightly. Then using a rolling pin, thinly roll out the dough – it should be so thin that you can see the table through it, if you rip holes in it rolling it out, that's okay!
- Using your hand, scoop a handful of the butter/shortening mixture and spread a thin layer across the whole dough – edge to edge.
- Starting from one end, roll the dough into a pinwheel (like you do cinnamon rolls), pulling and stretching the dough as you roll – again holes are okay. You want the pastry layers to be as thin as you can possibly get them.
- Roll the rolled pastry into a coil (like a snail shell) and rub with a light layer of butter/shortening mix to keep from drying out. Place in a dish and cover with a towel. Let rest for at least 60 minutes in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- To form the pastizzi, cut the rested dough into 1.5-inch pieces. Using two pieces of parchment paper, roll out each pieve of dough into a circle between the two pieces of parchment to avoid sticking. You want to roll it out to about ¼" thick max. Be careful as the dough can be fragile as this point.
- Once rolled out, cup it in your hands and fill the centre with ricotta. Seal by folding over one side and then the next, pinching each of the two ends together to seal.
- Place pastizzi on a lined baking sheet and brush with some of the butter/margarine mixture.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a deep golden brown.
- Pastizzi are best eaten the day you bake them!
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