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Mini Doughnuts tal-Festa

These mini doughnuts tal-festa are a traditional treat found on the Maltese streets in Summer, during the village feasts! They are the perfect mini bite sized fried soft doughnuts covered with sugar. What else do you need?
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Resting Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Maltese
Keyword: Doughnuts, Sugared
Servings: 35 mini doughnuts


  • 300 g strong bread flour
  • 125 ml milk lukewarm
  • 45 g castor sugar + extra for covering the cooked doughnuts
  • 6 g active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 30 g butter room temperature, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • In a mixer bowl activate the yeast by adding the yeast, milk and sugar. Let the mixture foam for about 15 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl add together the flour, salt, nutmeg and vanilla extract. Set aside
  • Once the yeast is activated add the dry ingredients together with the egg to the mixer bowl. With a hook attachment knead the dough for about 3 minutes, until a soft dough starts to take shape.
  • Then gently add the diced butter one piece at a time until all the butter is incorporated. Let the dough knead for about 10 minutes. Make sure it passes the windowpane test*.
  • Cover the dough and let it rest for an hour in the warmest place in your kitchen until it doubles in size.
  • Once the dough is doubled in size, transfer it to a well floured surface. Make sure that you flour also your rolling pin and the top of your dough.
  • Roll the dough to about 0.5 cm thickness.
  • Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and dusted with flour. Set aside
  • With either a cookie cutter, a doughnut cutter or a glass cut the doughnut shapes. I used a 6cm glass. For the centre hole you can either use a small cookie cutter or a piping bag nozzle. Place each doughnut on the floured baking tray and leave some space between one another. I recommend to also save the doughnut holes and place them with the doughnuts rather than rolling again.
  • It's important that you cut the doughnut shapes as close as possible, this will limit the amount of time the dough is reshaped which isn't ideal.
  • If you have a good amount of extra dough repeat this step only once. Once you have all your doughnuts, cut the scrapes of dough into random shapes. These will be ideal to test the oil and as a nibble while you fry your actual doughnuts.
  • Once ready cover the baking tray and let them rest for 30 minutes. Prepare a plate with castor sugar. Set aside.
  • In the meantime, fill a large pot with vegetable oil. Pour enough oil so that the doughnuts have enough space to cook in. Heat the oil to about 170°C/340°F.
  • Gently add the doughnuts to the hot oil and let them cook for about 30 seconds on each side. Transfer the cooked doughnuts to a plate lined with paper towels so that it will dry out any excess oil.
  • While still hot transfer the doughnut to the sugar plate and cover the doughnut completely.
  • Serve and enjoy! **


*To carry out the windowpane test, take a small amount of dough and hold it with both hands (using the thumbs and first two fingers). Gently, spread open your hands so to stretch the dough. Keep stretching gently until the centre part of the dough is translucent. If the dough doesn’t break that means that the gluten has developed and you can prepare your dough for the rising part. However, if the dough breaks easily when you open your fingers, the gluten hasn’t yet fully developed so it needs more work. Therefore, transfer the dough ball back to the main dough and let it knead for more minutes. Try again until the dough passes the windowpane test.
**Ideally these doughnuts are served and eaten on the same day that they are made. However, if you have some leftovers you can keep them for the next day and simply heat them up before eating. I don't recommend keeping them more than one day, as their texture and taste changes.