Cassata from Palermo

Cassata from Palermo

Cassata palermitana


Confectioners cover this Sicilian classic with marzipan, fondant icing and baroque decorations. The icing given here is simpler.

350g (12oz) sponge cake, thinly sliced

3-4 tablespoons rum or marsala (optional)

350g (12oz) ricotta

125g (4 oz) caster sugar

A few drops vanilla essence

50g (2 oz) candied fruit, chopped

50g (2 oz) candied orange peel, chopped

50g (2 oz) bitter chocolate, chopped or grated

350g (12 oz) icing sugar

A few drops green food colouring

About 200g (7 oz) whole mixed glace fruits or candied peel

  1. Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm (8in) mould with foil, then line with sponge cake, keeping some to cover the top.  Sprinkle with half the rum or marsala, if using.
  2. Mix the ricotta, caster sugar and vanilla in the blender.  Stir in the chopped candied fruit and the peel and chocolate.  Spoon the mixture into the mould, cover with the remaining slices of sponge cake and sprinkle with the rest of the alcohol, if using.  Cover with foil and press down well, then refrigerate for a few hours.
  3. Melt the icing sugar in a double boiler with 1-2 drops green food colouring and a few tablespoons water.  Stir continuously with a wooden spoon and be careful it does not brown.
  4. Unmould the cassata and cover with the icing.
  1. Decorate with mixed candied peel or glace fruits and serve in very thin slices.

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