Imqaret is a traditional Maltese sweet pastry stuffed with dates. They are absolutely mouth watering and quite popular in Malta. It is commonly sold in street markets, shops, village feasts etc… and can be eaten paired with ice cream. Unfortunately however, the ones commonly sold in Malta are not vegan, as lard, eggs, butter or non-vegan margarine is used in the pastry.
But do not worry! As we know; what animal based foods can do, plants can do better 😉
So here is a DELICIOUS vegan friendly recipe of the traditional Maltese ‘Imqaret’ as made by the wonderful Kristen Kelley, who can be found on Instagram/Twitter as @mrskelley0308.
Now, let’s dive right into the recipe!
Imqaret (makes about 20 cookies)
Cook Time: 18 minutes, Prep Time: 20 minutes, Total Time: about 40 minutes.
180 g unpitted dates (125 g pitted)
1 tbsp maple syrup
Zest and juice of 1 orange
3 tbsp water
1/2 tsp anise seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
Pinch black pepper
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
415 g pastry flour, sifted
2 tsp anise seed
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch black pepper
250 ml water (or less, depending on your dough)
1 tbsp oil (avocado oil is preferable, olive or vegetable is okay too)
Preheat your oven to 200°C. Note: if you prefer fried imqaret, preheat your oil at this time(you will know it is ready when oil sizzles when end of pastry is dipped in)
Place all of your filling ingredients (except the vanilla) into a small pot. Simmer for about 15 minutes, while you make the pastry dough. When it is done simmering and dates are soft and paste-like, add vanilla and mix, breaking up any large pieces of dates that remain. Set aside to continue to cool while your dough rests.
Measure all of dry pastry dough ingredients into a bowl and slowly add 150 ml of the water mixed with 1 tbsp of oil. Mix with your fingers (keep one dry hand to pour the water!). If dough is still not coming together, add 50 ml more water. If you still do not have a ball of dough, add the final 50 ml of water. Form into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap and allow dough to rest while date paste filling is cooling.
Once paste is no longer hot, you can begin rolling your dough. Cut your dough in half and set one half aside. Roll out the other half of your dough into a 10×50 cm rectangle. Spread half of your filling down one side, making sure to leave room at the edge to seal. Fold the dry half of dough over onto the filling, and press the edge to seal. Cut each rectangle diagonally into about ten pieces. Brush each side with oil of choice and bake for 18 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking time.
If you are frying your imqaret, fry on one side for 1 1/2 minutes, then flip over to fry for another 1 1/2 minutes.
That is all! Please let us know if you tried the recipe and how you like it.
We are pretty sure you’d be very happy with the results!
Enjoy! J x