“Maxokk” ftira Għawdxija tal-ġbejna (Gozo cheeselet ftira)

Ftira 1When it comes to ftajjar, the people at Maxokk bakery don’t often get it wrong. (Besides maybe the time when they made me wait long enough to see how a ftira is made). Ftira Għawdxija tal-ġbejna is a traditionally Gozitan baked ftira with local cheeselets and thin slices of potato. Maltese people go crazy for it. 

I’ve been wondering how they make them for quite a while and there aren’t any online recipes for this type of ftira. So, here you go! My best guess so far and I think this comes quite close. The recipe is for two ftajjar since it’s not really worth the hassle to make just one.

Click here for the dough (għaġina) recipe.

It’s time to get the dough out of the fridge now. And start making the filling:

• 4 fresh goats milk cheeselets (ġbejniet friski)
• 1 peppered cheeselet (ġbejna tal-bżar) – grated
• 3 medium eggs
• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 potato
• sunflower oil

I use Benna products when it comes to my cheeses. They’re consistently good and easily accessible. However, the ġbejna isn’t exactly traditionally made. For a start, they’re made from cow’s milk.

Mix the cheeses, eggs and salt in a bowl using a fork. Peel the potato and cut it into thin slices. Some graters have a singular wide slot that’s great for this. Once the slices are cut, you’d best immerse them in some water so that they keep fresh.

Work the dough only once it has warmed up. Split it into two balls. Open each ball against your working surface using your fingers and rotating them, on plenty of flour. You should have two bases that are about 12 inches in diameter.

Spread the filling on the centre of the base so that you have a circle of filling that is about 8 inches in diameter. Coat this with potato slices. Pinch the edge of the base and pull it towards the centre in order to create a triangular fold over the potato. Move about 10 cm along the circumference of the base and create another fold by pinching and pulling again. Once you’ve done this six times, your ftira should look like the 4th and 5th photos below.

Brush the base of a circular non-stick pizza tray with sunflower oil. Lift the ftira and place it into the tray. use your fingers again to spread the ftira out. Brush the surface of the ftira with about 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil. Bake on the lowest shelf  in a preheated oven at 200ºC for about 25 minutes. Don’t use fan assistance. 15 minutes into the bake I would rotate the ftira 180º. This is because most ovens don’t bake completely evenly.

If the top of your ftira is cooked but the bottom is still a bit white, place your ftira right at the bottom of the oven and move the bottom tray of the oven above the ftira. This will shield the ftira (to some effect) from the top and cook the bottom more. 5 minutes should definitely do it.

If cheese alone is a bit too boring for you, consider peeling some Maltese sausage, chopping it and planting it on the surface of your ftira. Or maybe you could lightly fry half an white onion and mix it into your filling too. Or maybe some olives and sun-dried toms…

Ftira 2

 

Ftira 3

 

Ftira 4

 

Ftira 5

 

Ftira 6

 

Ftira 7

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