Xkumvat tal-karnival are fun shaped fried pieces of spiced dough covered in honey and sprinkles! The perfect carnival sweet treat.
A traditional Maltese treat for Carnival which nowadays isn’t commonly found. Xkumvat in general refers to a fried fritter covered in sugar. In fact, one of the most popular xkumvat is the one Maltese make with leftover pie dough or ravioli dough. The leftover dough is either cut into strips or circles, fried and then rolled in sugar. I personally remember doing this every time me and my mum used to make pies together. However, the Carnival xkumvat is slightly different.
The dough made for the xkumvat is relatively simple and is spiced with anis liquor. However, you can use any liquor to your liking. In such type of desserts, rhum and amaretto work out wonderful as well! Once the xkumvat is fried and is still warm, honey is drizzled all over, together with colourful sprinkles. In Malta you can also find xkumvat tal-karnival topped with extra pieces of liquorice candy.
All the shapes of Xkumvat
As it’s done for the Carnival, apart from being colourful, xkumvat has to be fun! For this reason, the pieces of dough are formed into various shapes. You can make spirals, knots, curls, etc. Although you can also keep it simple and just make them as strips. What I do recommend is that you do different shapes, so that you get different textures!
The xkumvat tal-karnival as mentioned already above is typically covered in honey. However, like any other xkumvat, you can cover the warm dough with sugar, icing sugar, flavoured sugar, chocolate, nuts, etc.
Baked or fried
If you don’t want to fry in oil, you can bake the xkumvat in the oven. However, keep an extra eye on them as the dough is thin and doesn’t take long for them to cook and burn.
Xkumvat tal-Karnival (Carnival Fritters)
- 200 g self-raising flour
- 2 eggs
- 30 ml anis liquor or rhum
- 20 g butter room temperature
- 30 g sugar
- colourful sprinkles
- In a bowl mix together the flour and sugar. Mix in the butter until it’s all crumbled in with the flour and sugar.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and liquor. Gently incorporate the wet mixture in the flour. Knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth. Wrap the dough in cling film and set in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, open the dough thinly. Cut long thin strips of dough. Make a knot, twist the dough together, roll around cannoli cylinders, etc. Prepare all your dough shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Fill a large pot with vegetable oil. Heat the oil to about 170°C.
- Cook in batches for about 1 minute on each side. Place the cooked pieces on a plate with tissue paper so that it absorbs the excess oil.
- While still warm, drizzle with plenty of honey and sprinkle a generous amount of sprinkles. Serve immediately!
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