I believe that it is actually on November 11th (as noted over at Appletarte) but it is celebrated here today. One local Maltese tradition for St. Martin which is still carried on here is giving children small cloth bags full of nuts, dried fruit and fresh fruit. My husband's parents however remember walking through the small streets here as children carrying lanterns made of pumpkins and singing. Mostly they remember fondly the shadows of the lanterns cast on the walls.
Today I made a traditional Maltese St. Martines Cake (it is delicious) and has become a favourite for runner for the start of the Christmas holidays in our house.
It tastes lovely and makes the house smell of christmas, cinnamon, oranges and cloves... !
Here is the Recipe
Maltese St. Martins Cake250 grams dates chopped
200 ml boiling water
125 grams self raising flour
(if you live where there is no self raising flour then use one cup white flour and 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp baking powder).
200 grams toasted hazelnuts or walnuts
100 grams dried figs chopped
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
zest and juice of one whole orange
First let the chopped dates soak in the boiling water for at least one hour. then add in the other ingredients (setting aside a handful of the nuts to sprinkle on top), lightly stir and bake at 350 F or 180 C for 30 min.
Simple as that and so good next to a hot cup or tea or coffee.
*Note it is not a very sweet cake so if you like you can add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar but really the dried fruit and orange juice sweeten it just fine.