Monday, November 19, 2012

Treacle Rings Recipe

This is a traditional sweet enjoyed throughout the year in Malta but mostly at Christmas time. This Maltese speciality dates back to the 15th Century and may be enjoyed with wine or as a dessert or even at tea time. Some people also like to call this sweet 'Honey Rings'.  I made this recipe a few years ago and I was very pleased with the result...maybe I'll give it a go again this year : )

For the filling*:                                                         
900g (2 lb) treacle                                                       
An equal amount of water                                            
Zest of tangerine, orange and lemon                             
A small amount of candied peel (optional)                    
A pinch of cloves
2 tablespoonfuls jam
400g semolina

For the pastry*:
800g flour
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
Water to bind

* You can use half the amount if you only plan to make 3 rings.  Adjust amount of all ingredients accordingly.

Sprinkle the baking trays with semolina. Put aside.
For the filling
Place all the filling ingredients, except for the semolina, into a saucepan.
Bring to boil and thicken with semolina.  Add half the amount at a time and stir, then add the remainder ingredients.  Cook for a few minutes.  Let cool for several hours, preferably overnight.
To make the pastry
Sieve the flour, rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Bind with egg yolks and water.  This pastry will keep well, wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
Divide the pastry into six pieces, and roll out one piece at a time into rectangles. Again out of each rectangle cut out rectangles,  10cm(4") wide x  18cm(7") long.  Depending on how thin you roll out the pastry you will have several strips now ready for the filling.
To make the treacle rings
Take a dessertspoonful of the stuffing and place it on the cut rectangle, shaping it into a sausage shape 3-4cm (ab.1 1/2") thick and as long as the pastry rectangle.  Dip your fingers into semolina, sprinkled on the board to help you shape it.  Fold the pastry over - there's no need to dampen the edges.
Bring the two ends of  the folded pastry roll together in order to form a ring.
As each ring is ready place on the prepared baking sheets. Do not let the rings touch each other.  When they have all been prepared, cut five or six slashes on top of each ring with a sharp knife, lifting the pastry gently so as to let the stuffing show through.
Bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is only slightly coloured. Let cool.  You can wrap these in cellophane to give as gifts.  The fresher they are the tastier of course!  Enjoy!


  1. It is ages since I last had one of these, thanks for the recipe but unfortunately I don't find treacle here. Can it be replaced with honey? As a matter of fact I thought they were also called Honey rings... "Qaghaq tal-ghasel" in Maltese.

  2. Yes Sue as I said at the beginning of this post, they are also called Honey Rings. But there is no honey in them. I am not sure whether you could use honey, I am doing a search and I have found that in Maltese, the word "treacle" is ghasel iswed, I think you could use a combination of treacle and golden honey but if you leave out the treacle completely the end product will not be quite the same. Wish the Treacle was not so heavy but it would be too heavy to mail it out to you, I think it's better if I mail out a couple of Honey rings instead : )

  3. Doreen, thanks but no there's no need, I don't even know if Antonio and Sara would try them, Neil surely not as he doesn't eat any sweet stuff as you already know. They are too heavy and it would cost too much in postage so never mind. I might be lucky to buy some the next time I come over.
    Thanks just the same.

  4. I am not too fond of this dessert because I do not like treacle. Oh well ...


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