Cassata Siciliana – pride of the Sicilian table

Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Normans and Spaniards , have left their mark in the Sicilian cuisine.

There are many recipes for cassata. Some use a round bowl which is later turned over and un-molded.
Some recipes use a rectangular pan. We like the ease of a spring-form pan with removable sides.
The Cassata pairs well with Brachetto or a buttery Chardonnay.

Ingredients for 8 – 10 people:

1 sponge cake or plain pound cake
3 – 4 tablespoons rum or Marsala wine
1 1/2 pounds Ricotta
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated dark chocolate
2 ounces finely chopped candied mixed peel
2 ounces finely chopped candied orange peel
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
Whole pieces of mixed glacè fruit or candied peel
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
green food color (optional)


Cut the sponge cake into rectangular slices. Line bottom and sides of a springform baking tin with cake, reserving some pieces for the top. Sprinkle with rum or Marsala. Mix together ricotta, sugar, and vanilla. Blend well (a blender is good for this step). When creamy, add chocolate, chopped candied peels, and pistachios. Pour mixture onto the sponge slices. Smooth top. Cover with another layer of cake slices, dust with powdered sugar and garnish with candied fruit.

Or use the following as icing in place of plain powdered sugar:

Melt the powdered sugar in a double boiler with 1 or two drops of green food coloring and a few tablespoons of water. Spread over top of cake. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Remove sides of springform pan and serve in small slices.