Figolli are essentially almond pies done in different shapes to be eaten on Easter Sunday. Originally decorated with fondant, now-a-days you may also find ones decorated with chocolate.
Although modern additions to Easter such as chocolates eggs and the Easter bunny can be found in most shops, Figolli are still very popular.
I like to prepare the dough the night before, this gives it time to rest as well as it reduces your preparation time on the day. Here is what you will need:
Makes 10 large figolli
For the dough:
800 gr. Plain flour
400 gr. sugar
250 gr margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 teaspoons baking powder
For the filling
600 gr. Sugar
600 gr. Ground Almonds
4 to 5 egg whites depending on the size
Start off by preparing the dough, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the baking powder. Now, add the margarine and rub it in with your hands until it has been completely dissolved into the flour and you are left with a sandy mixture. Now, add the sugar and vanilla and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs and mix the ingredients together to form dough. Set it aside to rest on a floured surface or place it in the fridge overnight.
For the filling, place the ground almonds and sugar together in a bowl and add the egg whites a little at a time mixing after every addition. Once the almond turns into a paste, your filling is done. You should be able to hold the almond paste in your hands and shape it just like you would with pastry.
To prepare the figolli, just roll out the dough to about 0.5 cm in thickness and cut two identical shapes. Place a layer of filling on one of the shapes leaving a boarder around the edge of approximately 1 cm. Make sure not to press the filling too much when spreading since this will cause your pastry to lose its shape or widen and the top (identical) layer will not fit.
Now brush the edges with a little water or apricot jam and place the second shape over it. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for approximately 30 minutes or until the figolli have nicely browned.
Repeat the process until you would have used up all your dough.
Coat your Figolli with melted chocolate or icing and decorate with silver balls.