You know, one of the best things about Sicily is the food. Every single friend that has visited me, here, throughout the years has always been astonished by the art, landscape and people, but after all, it is the food is that they remember.
Sicily is famous for its dessert and cakes and I want to show you how to make one of the most celebrated specialties: Cassata, made of ricotta cheese, candied fruit and sponge cake. I’ve tried to learn how make it at home but decided I needed the help of professionals and, so, i’ve chosen the best bakery in Palermo to show me how to do it. Mr Cappello and his team have invented lots of desserts and people come from all over the world to taste their fruit cake, Setteveli cake - made with 7 different kind of chocolate - and, of course, Cassata. Here we have all the steps for you to follow so you can “do it yourself”. If I can do it... so can you! Trust me.
- sponge cake (buy it, it’ s easier!) 200g
- ricotta cheese 350 g
- pistachio paste 200 g
- icing sugar
- candied fruit (1 lemon, 1 mandarine, 1 pear, 1 fig, 1 marrow, 1 orange, 5 cerries)
Step 1 - building the base
Cut the sponge into squares. Then, roll out the pistachio paste with a rolling pin and cut it into rectangles. Place them on the sponge cake in an alternating sequence. Cover the bottom of the cake tin with large rectangular pieces of sponge
Step 2 - it’s time for ricotta cheese
Mix fresh ricotta cheese with the icing sugar, to make the cheese soft and creamy. Add some little pieces of chocolate if you like. Put this mix into the cast until you fill it.
and now... Overturn your Cassata onto a tray.
Step 3 - Be artistic!
Cover the cassata with glaze, very carefully, (I almost made a disaster!) using a large knife. Now, you’re ready to decorate your cake artistically. The typical Sicilian Cassata is finished to look like a flower: you can create petals, leaves and colors with the candied fruit.
A nice candied mandarin is placed in centre of the Cassata flower, stripes of marrow are petals, stripes of lemon are the inner circle of the flowers. You can also use orange, pear, cherries and figs to add more coloured decoration to the petals. Be creative!
Step 4 - baroque mode
You can decorate with some more glazed sugar the sides of cassata, making some baroque patterns. But you can also write something if you want...
Step 5 - Be patient for a couple of hours...
When you finish, put the Cassata into your fridge for a couple of hours. Then the hardest part, waiting!! You must be patient and in the end it’s really worth it!
Now, that's enough from me! Get in to the kitchen and make your own Sicilian Cassata!
Each week Sicilian Girl will be giving us the chance to see more of the Sicilian way of life through her eyes and all you have to do is click below. Enjoy!