Finding the BEST Pastizzi in Malta

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photos by Pete Heck

You probably would have walked right by it.

I know we would have. If it wasn’t for our new friend Salvu, we wouldn’t have given this place a second glance, deeming it be just a little too hole-in-the-wall for us.

Malta Pastizzi

And that would have been an utter shame, as we really would have missed out on tasting the best of a national treasure.

The Crystal Palace and its owner are famous across Malta for the savoury treat known as Pastizzi.

What are Pastizzi?

Pastizzi are a popular snack in Malta, and are essentially just a flaky philo puff pastry stuffed with either ricotta filling or mushy peas.

(It is obvious that British influence is to blame for the ‘mushy peas’ version. While Pete claimed that he liked them–there are very few foods he doesn’t like–I personally believe there is no good reason for them to exist).

Finding the BEST Pastizzi in Malta

The pastry is folded into a small, diamond or triangle shape and then baked until golden and crispy.

Pastizzi are a beloved snack or appetizer in Malta, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

How to Eat Pastizzi

The crispy pastry and flavourful filling make them a popular choice for breakfast, mid-morning snack, or as an afternoon energy boost.

Pastizzi are usually eaten by hand, either as a quick bite on the go or as a casual treat during a break. Many Maltese people enjoy pastizzi with a cup of tea, coffee, or even a soft drink.

Pastizzi and Kinnie

Locals like to combine two Maltese treasures: a plate full of Pastizzi paired with a Kinnie (the soda tastes like a carbonated grapefruit iced tea, and is delicious).

Pastizzi are often also enjoyed with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a drizzle of tomato sauce, depending on if you are feeling sweet or savoury.

Where to Find the Best Pastizzi

The Crystal Palace in Mdina is open nearly around the clock and was full of people the entire time we were there.

Old men sat on plastic chairs on the sidewalk surrounding, thoroughly enjoying their snacks and people-watching (such presence at any place should be the first indicator of how good the food is).

It was clear that we had been shown “thee” place to go for Pastizzi.

Crystal Palace Malta
Photo by: Flickr user

Of course, nothing will ever beat a good home cooked meal.

It’s not uncommon for Maltese families to gather around a table and share a plate of pastizzi during social occasions or informal get-togethers.

They are a cherished part of Maltese culinary culture, reflecting the country’s rich history and love for simple yet delicious comfort food.

Make Your Own Pastizzi

If you love the Pastizzi in Malta, why not give it a try when you return home?

Mushy Peas Pastizzi

Here is a Maltese Pastizzi Recipe:



  • 400 grams sifted flour
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 60 grams lard at room temperature but not too soft
  • 70 grams butter at room temperature but not too soft

Cheese Filling:

  • 5 gbejniet (Maltese cheese) or about 500 grams fresh ricotta
  • 4 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese (or mozzarella cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to season

Pea and Corned Beef Mixture:

  • 1 can mushy peas
  • 1 clove garlic minced (or Maltese sausage)
  • 375 grams corned beef
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 large tablespoon curry powder
  • Salt and pepper to season

And for frying, you’ll be using olive oil.

Finding the BEST Pastizzi in Malta


Four the Dough:

  1. Begin by sifting the flour.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the sifted flour and salt.
  3. Gradually add water and use a dough mixer to blend the water, flour, and salt together.
  4. Continue adding water until a dough ball forms. You might need to turn off the mixer and knead the dough by hand.
  5. Knead the dough ball for approximately fifteen minutes. The ball should have a firm texture without being overly dry.
  6. Wrap the ball in cling film and place dough in the refrigerator overnight or for a minimum of six hours.
  7. Prepare your workspace by spreading 30 grams of lard over the surface.
  8. Roll out the dough as thinly as possible to create a large, flattened piece.
  9. Spread 30 grams of butter over the flattened dough.
  10. Roll the dough into a Swiss roll shape, stretching it as much as possible as you go.
  11. Once rolled, stretch the Swiss roll or “snake” and shape it into a snail shell. Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
  12. After an hour, prepare your workspace again using the same procedure.
  13. Spread the remaining lard on the table, roll out the snail-shaped dough, and spread 30 grams of butter over it.
  14. Roll it into a Swiss roll shape once more, stretch it, and form it into a snail shell. Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for an additional 2 hours.
  15. During this time, make your filling mixture.
  16. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  17. Remove the dough from the fridge, smear it with the remaining 10 grams of butter, and cut it into 3 cm pieces.
  18. Flatten each piece lengthwise using your fingers.
  19. Place a spoonful of the filling onto the dough and seal it. For cheese pastizzi, fold one piece (see David for instructions) in the centre and cover it with another piece, pinching the sides. For pea pastizzi, fold one side of the dough over to create a semi-circle shape and pinch the rounded sides to close.
  20. Arrange the pastizzi on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  21. Lower the oven temperature to 180°C and bake for around 20 minutes or until they turn golden brown on all sides.

For the Cheese Mixture:

  1. Gently combine ricotta, egg, parsley, and grated cheese.
  2. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

For the Pea and Corned Beef Mixture:

  1. In a frying pan, sauté onion and garlic for five minutes.
  2. Add curry powder and sauté for an additional minute.
  3. Incorporate the corned beef and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add mushy peas and gently mix to warm them.
  5. Taste and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Add more curry powder if desired.
  6. Scratch all of the above and book a flight to Malta, because WOW, that’s a lot of work!

Honestly, we recommend the final instruction on the list.

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  1. Oh wow… okay now I am even more hungry. I shouldn’t be reading post on food if I still have a few hours before I can break my fast for Ramadan. Oh & I have never heard of PASTIZZI… it looks delicious.

  2. Wow! Just goes on to show that the best food is found at places where one least expects them. Thats why I am a huge fan of street food. I just gorge on Indian street food.
    Wish you a wonderful week ahead:)

  3. I love ‘pastizzi’… where I live we also have a lil’ place that looks like a diner……but they are Maltese and make the best pastizzi. They even sell them frozen……we take home and bake as much as we need. My favorite is potatoes or cheese filled.
    Great photo’s. 🙂

  4. The grapefruit soda you mentioned made me think of this grapefruit soda we discovered in Antigua called Ting.

    Our boat captain was drinking it at 8am while we were getting ready to head out on a snorkel excursion. The green glass bottle looked like he was drinking a beer…so of course we asked what it was. Best. Soda. Ever.

  5. OMGGGG I can taste them I want them that bad. My family is Maltese but I’m Aussie and have just moved to the US. I miss my grandma making these for me 🙁

  6. I fully believe that some of the best food is served in some of the most suspect/unassuming places. I’ve never heard of pastizzi before, so I’m certainly no expert, but it really does look delicious! And I like peas (even of the mushy variety), but I don’t really see how they have any place in such delicious looking pastry!

    1. I agree with you Steph. But there are also some very sketchy places, so it’s hard to know which is good! Also agree with you on the peas – really? Are they necessary? 🙂

  7. Kind of looks a bit like baklava, although I imagine definitely would get a shock if I was expecting pistachio mash and bit into mushy peas.

  8. So a few dibs from a Maltese folk 🙂

    Crystal Palace really is the best place to get Pastizzi and they’re even better at 02:30 in the morning after a night out drinking, they are the hangover food of choice for the Maltese 😀

    The pea version is delicious, can’t agree with you on this, and is not an English inheritance. Proof of this – the cloves that are included in the traditional recipe (the Brits don’t use spices in savoury dishes, the Arabs do).

    Lastly, ricotta and pea are the two traditional fillings. All others are modern takes on this old food.

    One note on Kinnie, interesting description, worth a prize because Kinnie is so hard to define! It’s definitely an acquired taste, but if you do manage it, it’s a wonderful thirst quencher in Mediterranean heat (it MUST be served ice-cold). Just wanted to point out that the main ingredient of Kinnie is actually bitter oranges so it’s got that twist to it which is somewhat different to grapefruit.

    1. Marlja – thanks for your input! So, I have the Arabs to blame for the mushy peas version then, not the Brits? 🙂

      I quite enjoyed Kinnie after awhile. It’s weird for Pete not like to like something (he likes EVERYTHING), but he did try it a few times! 🙂

  9. He he, yup, I guess so. And re the Kinnie, it’s one of those things that tends to divide people, those who love it and those who hate it so fair enough 😉

  10. We just got our first Maltese Restaurant in Chatham Kent, great food great service, I go there about 2 or 3 times a week, I have my Cheese Cakes delivered at home frozen, in fact tomorrow I will receive 4 dozens, can’t wait

  11. I am joining a cruise ship in Malta on 20th April.I LOVE mushy peas!
    I will certainly try to visit Crystal Palace for Pastizzi and Kinnie . Can’t wait.

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