A shot of healthy Maltese date slices

Imqaret – The date slice recipe that everyone in Malta loves

Imqaret are definitely on the list of the most loved traditional Maltese sweets on the island. These deep-fried date filled pastries are bursting with spicy and fruity aromas and are an absolute must try Maltese dessert. Heck, I’ll argue it’s probably the best date dessert that exists period! 

These pastries originate from the Maghreb area and were imported into the country when Malta was under Arab rule. The name Imqaret is the plural form of ‘Maqrut’ which means ‘diamond-shaped’ in Arabic. A key characteristic of this date dessert.  

A close up of healthy Maltese Imqaret with oranges in the background

You’ll also find similar sweets In the Arab nations, called ‘Makroudh’ or ‘Makrout’. Nevertheless, in areas such as Morocco and Tunisia, these date rolls are made with semolina rather than plain flour as we prepare them here in Malta. In the Maghreb area, you’ll also find variations filled with nuts or almond paste. Here in Malta, we always stuff them with a date filling. 

These scrumptious date rolls are sold by street vendors in ‘date kiosks’ and village feasts. They’re also served with ice cream in numerous restaurants across Malta. Although the name derives from the words ‘diamond-shaped’, nowadays, you’re more likely to find these Maltese date biscuits cut out into rectangular shapes. 

Hand holding a Maltese date slice

How to make Maltese Imqaret

This Imqaret recipe is slightly different to the original recipe. As always, it’s a healthier alternative to the traditional Maltese dessert. 😉

I tried something different with the pastry this time around and used a blend of wholemeal flour and soy flour. What’s so special about soy flour is the fact that it packs in a massive 41g of protein per 100g! This makes it a perfect ingredient for vegan athletes and those who require a high protein intake. 

Top shot of baked Maltese Imqaret

I also used a mix of dairy free yogurt, olive oil, sunflower seed butter and a flax egg rather than the fatty and nutritionally void margarine or lard. 

On the other hand, the filling is very true to the original Maltese recipe, using a mix of dates, fragrant spices, anisette and orange blossom water. The orange blossom water gives these sweets a superb unique flavor. You can also sub with rose water if you don’t have any at hand. 

I tried making a gluten free imqaret recipe version using a blend of soya flour and oat flour. Although the taste was still divine, the pastry was not very malleable and much more difficult to handle than the normal pastry. 

Baked Maltese Imqaret

These amazing date slices go down super well warm, with a dollop of ice cream, washed down with a cup of tea. 

Maltese cuisine is so fantastically vibrant and bursting with a blend of middle eastern and Mediterranean flavours. Want to try out more traditional sweets? Why not check out these kwarezimal and pudina recipes?
And if you’re a fan of dates, you’ll love my other date recipes! These raw brownies are an absolute favorite 5-minute dessert! 

Hand holding a Maltese date slice

Imqaret – The date slice recipe that everyone in Malta loves

A healthy twist on one of the best Maltese desserts
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine european, Maltese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 24 rectangles
Calories 101 kcal


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Rolling Pin


For the Pastry

  • 100 g Soy Flour
  • 100 g Wholemeal Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 50 g Dairy-Free Yogurt vanilla is best
  • 40 g Olive Oil
  • 15 g Sunflower Seed Butter
  • 1 Flax Egg
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tsp Orange Blossom Water (Ilma Zahar)
  • 150 ml Water

For the Filling

  • 400 g Medjool Dates soft
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • 1 Tbsp Anisette or Licorice Liqueur
  • 1 tsp Orange Blossom Water (Ilma Zahar)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Water


How to make Healthy Pastry

  • Sift the soy flour, wholemeal flour, baking powder and Xanthan Gum in a mixing bowl. Add coconut sugar
  • Make a small well in the middle and add in the olive oil, sunflower seed butter, yogurt and flax egg. Mix ingredients together
  • Rub into the flour until you the mix looks like sticky breadcrumbs
  • Add orange blossom water and mix in a teaspoon of water at a time until a dough forms
  • Refrigerate while you prepare the filling

How to make Imqaret Filling

  • Add all the filling ingredients to a saucepan and simmer for around 15 minutes
  • Keep stirring the mixture and mashing the dates until you achieve the consistency of a mushy paste

Assembling Imqaret

  • This pastry is a bit more fragile than the store-bought type, so it's best to divide into 4, making it easier for you to roll and handle
  • While your date paste cools, roll out the pastry to 4 long rectangles of a 2-3mm thickness
  • Place the date filling along half of the pastry rectangles
  • Wet the edges and fold the dough over to enclose the date filling into a parcel
  • From each rectangle, cut out 6 slices diagonally and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper
  • Bake at 185°C for around 20 minutes until golden brown


If you use My Fitness Pal to log your food, you can find this recipe listed on the database as ‘The Healthy Malteser Imqaret’.

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    1 thought on “Imqaret – The date slice recipe that everyone in Malta loves”

    1. 5 stars
      Loved this recipe
      Will definitely make this one again
      The flavours of the spices make this slice very exotic

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