Cassata siciliana

cassata siciliana
cassata siciliana

The name comes from the Arab word “qas’at”, meaning “bowl”. The cassata is a traditional Sicilian cake made with sugared ricotta cheese (traditionally goat’s milk), sponge cake, almond paste and candied fruit. The Sicilian cassata was officially recognized and included in the list of traditional Italian agricultural and food products (P.A.T) registered with the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (Mipaaf).

1 sponge cake, 26 cm in diameter

1 kg goat’s milk ricotta cheese
200 gr. icing sugar
1/2 dl Rum
120 gr. chopped candied fruit
120 gr. chopped dark chocolate
Almond paste
60 gr. finely chopped pistachio nuts
150 gr. finely chopped almonds
50 gr. icing sugar
2 tablespoons Rum

Rum syrup
2 dl water
50 gr. caster sugar
1/2 dl Rum

450 gr. Fondant (or 200 gr. ricotta mixed with 20 gr. icing sugar)
2 tablespoons of apricot gelatine and candied fruit, to taste

Mix the ricotta with the sugar until you have a smooth and uniform paste, and then place it in a terrine. Leave the candied fruit to macerate in the Rum for about 20 minutes. Strain the candied fruit and add to the ricotta together with the chocolate. Cover the terrine with cling film and leave in the fridge for 12 hours.
Prepare the pistachio nut paste by mixing the pistachio nuts with the almonds, Rum and icing sugar. Separately, prepare the syrup: place the sugar in a pot, add the water and boil for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and cool, and then add to the Rum. Cut the sponge cake into slices, place them side by side on the bottom of a wet cake tin lined with cling film, and spray the slices with Rum syrup. Cover the sponge cake with the ricotta and close with the other slices of sponge cake, and spray the top with Rum syrup. Seal the cake tin with cling film and store in the fridge for 12 hours. Turn out the cassata and brush with the liquefied gelatine. Cover the cassata with fondant melted in a bain-marie, or with the ricotta. Roll out the almond paste. Cut out diamond shapes with a pastry cutter and place round the side of the cake. Use the candied fruit to decorate the cake and place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Buon appetito!

Serves 10 people
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooling time: 24 hours in the fridge
Cooking time: 15 minutes