OTTIJIET - Traditional Maltese Biscuits in the shape of N° 8

Ottijiet are Maltese traditional biscuits shaped in the form of the number 8. Infact, the biscuit’s name is derived from the Italian word Otto which means Eight. The word otto was borrowed by the Maltese and the Maltese created the plural of otto into ottijietwhich is colloquial maltese.
These biscuits, are very easy to make and they form part of the autumn and winter cuisine.   The ingredients are very basic which are normally found in every housewife’s larder. However they are very delicious, especially when served at breakfast or teatime with tea and coffee. Once you start dipping these biscuits in tea or coffee, you won’t be able to resist yourself as once you pop you won’t stop.
Yet you should try them and share them with family and friends. They will surely love them!!!
Ottijiet are very popular in Malta, and can be purchased from all supermarkets and confectioneries.

Here is the recipe that makes around 48 biscuits

600g plain flour
3teaspoons baking powder
175g castor sugar
100 ml olive oil
Grated rind 2 oranges and 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped rind of mandarin (optional)
2 eggs
150g sesame seeds

Sieve flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add sugar and mix well.  Rub in oil.
In a separate bowl grate the lemon and orange rind.  Add to flour mixture together with mandarin rind. Add the eggs lightly beaten and half of the orange and lemon juice.

Add egg mixture to the flour and process until mixture forms into a soft dough.  If dough is dry, add slowly some of the remaining juice.

Turn dough on a floured surface and knead lightly with your hands until dough is smooth.

Cut pieces of dough,  roll dough in your hands and form into a neat sausage about 20 cm long and thick as a finger. Join the ends together and then twist these rings at the centre to form a figure of eight. 
Dip them into sesame seeds and place them on an oven tray which has been covered with a well greased baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. Turn the heat down to 160 -180°C/ gas mark 4 and place the biscuit trays in the oven. 
Bake for about 25 minutes until they are a deep golden colour. Leave them to cool on a wire rack and then store them in an airtight container.

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