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Cassata is the Sicilian dessert par excellence, the queen of festive pastry, a traditional cake made with sponge cake, sheep's milk ricotta, chocolate drops, royal or marzipan paste and candied fruit. The Sicilian cassata owes its name from the Arabic qas'at, which means bowl and it is said that it was invented around the year one thousand on the occasion of the Easter celebrations. Usually we in Naples, during the Christmas holidays, go to buy Sicilian specialties in the pastry shops near the port that are sent every day cassata and cannoli from Palermo, but this year I decided that I would have prepared the cassata, I knew that making real Sicilian cassata at home would not be easy and I was also afraid that the taste was not like the original one, but I wanted to try it anyway. After 2 days of studying the various recipes seen on the internet and two days of preparation, I can say that I am very satisfied, I have prepared a lady cassata of which I am very proud, the best comment I received was "it looks like a cassata siciliana vera "and this paid off for my work. If you like to prepare my recipe to delight your guests during the Christmas holidays you will not regret it, you just need to organize yourself with the times and use the freshest ricotta and then the game is done. Well friends, I start my hard work week wishing you a good day, see you later;)
How to make Sicilian cassata
You have to start the preparation of the Sicilian cassata the day before by preparing the sponge cake
Separate the yolks from the whites and whip them until stiff.
Whip the egg yolks with 6 tablespoons of boiling water and when they become frothy, add the sugarThen add the sifted flour and baking powder. Finally, stir in the whipped egg whites, mixing the mixture with a wooden spoon
Pour the dough into a greased and floured rectangular pan measuring 35 cm x 25 cm and bake the sponge cake in a preheated oven at 180 ° for 30 minutes
Once cooked, let it cool, remove the pds from the mold and let it cool on a wire rack
The next day, work the ricotta in a bowl together with the icing sugar and vanilla essence.
Pass the ricotta in a sieve, and collect the ricotta cream in a bowl, which should be smooth and homogeneous.
Add the chocolate drops and, if you like, also the candied orange cut into cubes
Mix and place the ricotta cream in the fridge covered with cling film.
Now let's start to assemble our cassata, cut the sponge cake in half and then into rectangles
Prepare the marzipan by mixing it with the green food coloring to obtain a green dough.
Roll out the marzipan into a 6 cm wide and 1/2 cm thick sheet and cut into small pieces of dough in the shape of a trapezoid
Cut a strip of sponge cake into trapezoids of equal size.
Cover the cassata mold (the classic mold with flared edges) with cling film and line the bottom with the strips of sponge cake putting the light side down.
Line the edges alternating the trapezoids of sponge cake with those of green marzipan, pressing well towards the sides and being careful not to leave spaces between one trapezoid and the other.
With other trapezoids of sponge cake cover the green marzanape so as to have the whole circumference of the mold covered with sponge cake.
Now prepare the syrup by dissolving the sugar in a saucepan with water together with the zest of half a lemon and a cup of liqueur (I used the Amaretto di Saronno but you can also choose to use a different liqueur such as rum or maraschino) and wet all the dessert.
Now fill the mold with the ricotta and chocolate cream and level with a spatula
Close the cassata by covering the base with other strips of sponge cake and wet.
Cover with cling film and refrigerate to harden for at least three hours with a weight on the surface (a pot full of water will be fine)
When the cassata is very compact, turn it upside down on a serving dish and prepare the fondant glaze, putting the icing sugar in a saucepan together with the water and vanilla essence.
As soon as it comes to a boil, the fondant will be ready to be poured immediately into the center of the cassata and spread with a spatula.
Pour the icing also on the sides of the cassata, I recommend to be quick in this step because the fondant dries almost instantly as soon as it is spread, so you can get a smooth and homogeneous layer.
Now decorate the Sicilian cassata by placing the slices of candied fruit and candied cherries
Slice the Sicilian cassata and serve, the next day is even better.