Cassata Siciliana

Dolci - Desserts

One of Sicily’s most famous sweets, it’s origins date back to Arab occupation in the 10th century AD, whose influences remain in Sicily’s food and culture today.

The Cassata is a Sicilian sweet delicacy, a round cake with sloped edges and a layer of sponge protecting the sweetened fresh, new season ricotta cheese. All is encased with a layer of green marzipan, elaborately decorated with opulent designs of candied fruit and icing sugar.

It is believed that during the Arabic domination in Sicily the Cassata was created and that the name derives from the Arabic word “qas’at”. This is thought to be the name of a wide circular pan with sloping sides, which is the traditional type of dish used to make the Cassata.

Although now eaten all year round in individual portions or whole elaborate showstoppers, the Cassata shines during Easter time. Another of Sicily’s famous desserts known to be created by the nuns in the surrounding areas of Palermo, with its vibrant surroundings and prevailing land filled with Pistachios, Citrus and Sheep ricotta.

The green marzipan once made from pure Sicilian pistachio paste, sugar and water is now more commonly known to be made with Sicilian almonds and green colouring due to the high cost of the Pistachos which are harvested only every 2 years in Sicily.

In the recipe we share there are 3 steps, of which 2 of them can be made days in advance. It will require a bit of patience to create, yet well worth it. It is challenging to find the original shaped Cassata tin, so we have opted for a 8 inch round cake tin. It won’t give you the sloping sides but it is more readily available.

We share this, as well as other traditional recipes, in the first of our dedicated Recipe E-Books with this Easter Special Edition

A £2 donation from each purchase will be donated to The Trussell Trust Foundation, supporting food banks across the UK.

Join us for a our live virtual cook along Cassata Making masterclass on Easter Saturday, 3rd April.