Maltese Torta

A word about this recipe: Ever since I can remember I have loved, loved, loved when my Mom made Torta. My Ukrainian-German mother, who is a phenomenal cook, has managed over the years to become an expert in Maltese cooking, which is my Dad's side of the family.

Malta, which is located in located in the Mediterranean Sea, is about 60 miles South of Sicily and about 175 miles from the coast of Africa (Tunisia) - my Grandparents emigrated in the late 1930s and settled in Stamford, CT.

Growing up visiting my Granparents every Sunday was a real treat for me: I loved listening to them conversing in Maltese (although unfortunately I did not understand what they were saying) and always anxiously awaiting to see what amazing Maltese dish Nanna would make. My favorites are the torta (see below) and pastizzi (a meat or cheese "pastry").

Torta is beyond easy to make and is a great dish to make especially in the winter.

I must admit that I have a hard time conceptualizing something that's basically a meat pie, because when I think of "pie", I think of dessert - but torta is so good I can't resist! This is truly a comfort food in my book. Actually, when I moved away from home in Connecticut, whenever I was somewhat homesick, I made torta and and it made me feel at home again - what's not to love about that!

I hope to try my hand at making pastizzi shortly - again, my Mom has managed to also make incredible pastizzi - you'd think she was a native Maltese - I've been putting it off for awhile, but I think I should face my "fear" and tackle this phyllo wonder! I'll post shortly.



2 Deep dish 9" pie shells
1 Lb ground beef (I use 95% lean)
3 Onions, chopped (or 1 ½ c) - you can use a fresh onions, but I highly recommend using frozen chopped onions - it saves you time and your eyes will thank you.
1 C peas - again, use frozen
¼ C fresh shredded parmesean cheese - you can play with this amount
2 Eggs
1 T olive oil
Salt to taste
Canned Milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. On the stovetop on high, saute onions in olive oil.

3. Add meat. Saute until no longer brown. Drain fat.

4. On medium heat, add peas and parmesean cheese, stir until dispersed throughout.

6. Stir in eggs.

7. Salt to taste. (Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt is fabulous).

8. Add to one pie shell. Cover with 2nd pie shell. Seal and use fork to poke with holes for steam. Brush with some canned milk.

9. Bake for 35-45 minutes.


Source: Vassallo Family Recipe

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