Recipe Friday: The Cassatina from The Sicilian Baker

Marilyn HawkesSeptember 2019
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If you’ve been to The Sicilian Baker, you’ve probably already experienced (ahem, tasted) the sensational desserts they dish out. It’s always fun to pick up a few pastries while you’re there, including cassatina, a traditional Sicilian dessert. But sometimes half the fun of eating dessert is making it yourself, so we’ve snagged the cassatina recipe for you to try at home.

The Sicilian Baker offers some valuable tips: Take your time while making each element of the cake before attempting to assemble; make sure the sponge cake is super moist and not overbaked; for authentic Sicilian flavor, use sheep’s ricotta instead of cow’s milk ricotta; and decorate with plenty of candied fruit. 

Cassatina

Makes six 4-inch cakes

Ingredients

1 9-inch sponge cake

450 grams marzipan, traditionally colored green

Candied fruit, for decoration (They like to use candied oranges and cherries.)

1 cup sweet ricotta cream

Sponge Cake

Ingredients

15 eggs

3 cups granulated sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla paste

1 ½ tsp. salt

3 tbsp. baking powder

3 cups AP flour

Preparation

Separate egg yolks and whites, making sure there is no trace of yolks left in the whites. Whip egg whites with mixer on low speed, and measure out the rest of the ingredients in separate containers. Add 2/3 of the sugar to the yolks and whisk well until yolks are pale yellow. Add vanilla, milk and salt to the yolk mixture and mix well. By this time, the egg whites should be at a soft peak. Add the reserved 1/3 of the sugar very slowly. Turn mixer on high and whip until medium to stiff peaks form. While the whites are finishing on the mixer, sift the baking powder and flour into the yolk mixture and mix just until flour is incorporated. Fold in the egg whites gently and slowly, making sure not to overmix. Bake at 325 degrees with the fan on low until baked all the way through.

Marzipan

Ingredients

2 cups powdered sugar

1 ¼ cup almond flour

½ vanilla bean

1 ½ tbsp. honey

1 ½ tbsp. water

¼ tsp. almond extract

1-2 drops green food coloring

Preparation

Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl except food coloring. Mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated, then add 2-3 drops of food coloring and add more until you get the desired color.

Traditional Cannoli Cream with Chocolate Chips

Ingredients

1 lb. sheep ricotta

¾ cup heavy cream

½ cup mini chocolate chips

Preparation

In a mixing bowl with the whisk attached, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Then, fold together the ricotta and whipped cream. Add chocolate chips and mix well.

Sweet Ricotta Cream

Ingredients

1 lb. sheep ricotta

¾ cup heavy cream

Preparation

In a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Then, fold together the ricotta and whipped cream.

Assemble

Dust all of your cake molds with plenty of powdered sugar. Next, roll marzipan about ¼ inch thick. Use plenty of powdered sugar to prevent it from sticking to the table and rolling pin. Press rolled marzipan into little cake molds evenly and trim off any extra that hangs over. Fill in your marzipan/sponge cake mold with cannoli cream and level off to the top of your mold. Place a thin circle of sponge cake on top to cover all of the cream and to create a bottom for the cake. Flip over the cakes onto a plate or flat surface and bang out gently. They should come out easily because of the dusting of powdered sugar. Finally, top with sweetened ricotta cream and candied fruit. Refrigerate and enjoy on a warm day.

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