Prinjolata (prin-yo-la-ta) is a traditional Maltese carnival desert – just like carnival it’s a mish mash of a few good things decorated and colourful.

Everyone makes prinjolata differently, the key is the decoration of the icing, and all the recipes I found have broken up cake as one of the key ingredients. Here’s the recipe for the prinjolata I made for our little taste of Maltese carnival in Essex.

150g butter
175g caster sugar
a sponge cake broken into 1cmx1cm pieces
1 egg white, whipped so it forms peaks
a couple of drops of vanilla essence
50g nuts – traditionally it’s pine nuts, I used 10g of pine nuts and 40g of flaked almonds

For the filling, whisk the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then mix in all other ingredients, folding in the egg white last.

Put the mixture in a bowl and leave to form for a few hours.

Once the prinjolata filling has had time to set, turn it out keeping the semi circle shape. The next step is the icing. I made a quick butter icing with 1 tbs of butter, 2 cups of icing sugar, 3tbs milk and a few drops of vanilla essence.


What makes the prinjolata (whatever variations of the filling mix – some people use condensed milk and broken up biscuits) is the decoration – glacee cherries, chocolate and nuts.

Maltese carnival float – picture courtesy of my brother John.

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Christina Hunter

I'm a personal trainer who loves to cook and eat so I started a blog to share my food, recipes and experiences.

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