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Thanksgiving and a Sicilian Cassata

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Thanksgiving is here and  pumpkin pie is not far from everyone’s mind but if you want to ‘think out of the box’ this Thanksgiving… a Sicilian Cassata makes an unexpected  replacement..

Thanks to Barbara in Liberty Missouri for asking for this it is


The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions=second edition

copyright 2016 Art of Living,PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

Sicilian Cassata


1 lb sponge cake (store bought or homemade)
2 cups water
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange flower water
½ cup candied fruit for decorating such as candied orange, cherries, figs, candied or citron sliced finely with a peeler for decorating
Ricotta filling
2 lbs firm fresh ricotta, drained well
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup candied orange peel, chopped finely optional, if you don’t like orange peel, use 1 tbsp orange zest and add in some candied fruits chopped
6 ozs. dark chocolate, chopped
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk


Slice the sponge into three layers of ½ “ thick slices. Grease and line a 12” spring form cake pan. Using the cake pan as a guide, cut out two circles the size of the base of the pan. With the other slices of sponge, cut into strips of 3” wide to cover the sides of the cake pan so that you almost completely line the pan with sponge cake with a disk of sponge left over for what will be the base.
In a small heavy based saucepan, over a moderate temperature, dissolve the sugar, orange flower water, lemon juice and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until it resembles a light syrup. Remove the syrup from heat and leave to cool for about 15 minutes. Using a pastry brush, moisten the sponge on the base and sides of the pan, reserving a small amount of syrup for the top of the cake.
For the ricotta filling, ensure that the ricotta is well drained and quite dry. To drain the ricotta, place it into a colander or fine sieve in the fridge over a bowl for a couple of hours or overnight for a perfect consistency. Use a fork to combine the ricotta with the sugar, powdered sugar, orange peel and fold in the chopped chocolate. You can also add ½ cup of liqueur, usually cherry.
Spoon the ricotta filling into the sponge and smooth over the top. Brush the remaining layer of sponge with the syrup. Lay the layer sponge, syrup-side down, onto the ricotta. Press the sponge down gently and place a piece of baking paper on top. Place a plate over the top and weigh down the sponge with pans or a heavy weight. Place the cassata in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
For the icing, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl and add milk. Stir well until a smooth and thick white paste forms. Invert the cake onto a large plate. Pour the icing over the cake, spreading it with a wet spatula to glaze the top and sides allowing the icing to spill over the cake. The icing should be slightly thick and very smooth. Leave to set for 1 hour in the fridge. Decorate the cake with the extra candied fruit and serve.

Eat this quickly it is best for 2 days…But it will be gone before 2 days!

Copyright 2016 Art of Living,PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

and for more recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition on Amazon or ebook version available exclusively at Kindle

cover- book 2nd edition-001


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Designed by Brian Hanshaw

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