Krustini are the Maltese almond version of the Italian Cantucci. Twice baked, these crunchy and brittle biscuits are perfect for dunking in coffee or tea.
What are Krustini
In the Maltese cuisine, we have a lot of Italian influences. Krustini are in fact the Maltese version of Cantucci (originating from Tuscany). Maltese Krustini are small oblong shaped twice baked biscuits, which can have almonds inside or be plain. Their consistency is a bit dry and brittle, that can be enjoyed on their own or dunked in your coffee or tea for that perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Krustini are a staple purchase from any Maltese bakery. Nowadays, you can also find them from many grocery shops as well. Krustini are made with simple ingredients and quite straightforward to make. When making them it’s best to make a large batch, as they keep well for a long time if stored properly.
How to make Almond Krustini
Making these Maltese Krustini only requires few easy steps. Start by mixing together in a bowl, the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. In another bowl sift together the dry ingredients and the lemon zest. Mix both the dry and wet ingredients together and start kneading the dough. Once you start getting a dough, add in the softened butter, and continue kneading. As soon as the dough is almost fully made, add the whole almonds and knead them gently in the dough so that they are evenly distributed. Divide the dough into 4 or 6. At this stage, you decide how big you want your krustini to be! So if you want larger krustini divide only in 4 pieces, whereas if you want them smaller, divide into 6. Roll each piece into a large roll and place on the prepared baking tray. Bake them at 175°C or 345°F for about 30 minutes, or until they are nicely golden. Take them out from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Slice the rolls horizontally so that you get the krustini. Place again in a heated oven at 190°C or 375°F and bake each side for about 4 minutes. They should have a slight golden colour on each side.
How to store these Almond Krustini?
Store Krustini in an airtight container in a cool dry place. If stored properly, they can literally last several weeks, about 3 weeks. They might dry out a bit further but that is why they are good dunkable biscuits!
How to serve Krustini?
As already mentioned, Krustini tend to be dry and brittle, for this reason they pair well with coffee or tea, as you can dunk them in to soften them. Another popular way to eat them, is how the Italians do! Serve them with the sweet dessert wine ‘Vin Santo’ at the end of the meal. They also make a good dipping vessel when served with a rich dessert such as pastry cream, zabaione or to make a tiramisù with. In addition, as they are easy to make at home, they are the ideal homemade treat to gift to friends and family.
Can I use another type of nuts?
Traditionally, you can find either plain Krustini or else these ones filled with almonds. However, you can play with any you prefer. In fact, it’s very common to see this type of biscuits with other nuts, such as pistachios and hazelnuts. You can also include in the mixture dried fruits or infuse the dough with cocoa powder of a chocolate version.
Maltese Almond Krustini
- 500 g plain flour
- 200 g caster sugar
- 200 g whole almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 60 g butter softened
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- zest of a lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 175°C or 345°F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a bowl mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.
- To the flour mixture, add the liquids and start kneading. As soon as you start getting a dough, add the butter and knead it in.
- Once you get a dough, add in the almonds and knead until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough. If the dough is a bit sticky, add a sprinkle of flour.
- Divide the dough in 4 or 6 pieces. This highly depends on how big you like your krustini. Roll each piece in a long strip.
- Place each strip on the prepared baking tray, whilst making sure that they are not touching.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until they have a nice golden colour. Take out them out from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Slice the long baked dough to get the krustini. Transfer back to the oven, increase the temperature to 190°C or 375°F. Bake the krustini for about 4 minutes on each side until they are nicely golden.
- Let cool completely, and serve with a fresh cup of coffee or tea.
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