WOW Factor Sicilian Cassata

July 23, 2016

This WOW FACTOR Sicilian Cassata is designed to be easy and stress-less to make. When family and friends take their first bites – just watch their faces!!!. They’ll be back for more …

Scilian cassata sliced open

Scilian cassata sliced open

The 4 components of this fabulous/favoloso Sicilian cassata are:
* the sponge base
* real marzipan made with almond meal
* the ricotta filling
* white icing for the top

Making it the day before and chilling it overnight ensures the preparation is stress-less. It’s easy to finish on the day it is served.

Scicilain cassata Yum! Sicilian cassata

GF Sicilian Cassata – Yields a 23 cm diameter cake
Recipe and photographs © Ann Russell 2016

A. Sponge base: baked in a 23 x 33 cm sponge pan
6 size-8 eggs at room temperature
180 gm caster sugar
180 gm white rice flour
Pinch of salt
Lemon zest from 1 lemon, washed
1/4 cup sweet wine eg: Selak’s Reserve Dessert Wine
Juice of 1 large orange
1.Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-heat, shelf above middle.
2.Line a 2 x 33 cm sponge tin with baking paper.
3.Beat eggs and sugar until a pale cream and will stand up when the egg beater is lifted.
4.Sift in the rice flour & salt, then add the lemon zest, carefully blending with a knife.
5.Pour into the lined sponge tin, spreading evenly.
6.Bake at 200°C/180°C fan-heat for 10 -12 minutes or until golden brown.
7.Allow to rest for 10 minutes before inverting to cool on a wire rack. Remove baking paper.

B. Marzipan icing:
1 egg white
90 gm sugar
90 gm icing sugar
175 gm almond meal
2-3 tablespoons brandy
1.Whisk the egg white until light and frothy.
2.Sift in the two sugars and almond meal and stir with a wooden spoon to blend.
3.Add sufficient brandy to form a ball and knead until firm and smooth.
4.Cover and store in the refrigerator until required.

C. Ricotta filling:
500 gm ricotta
¼ cup raisins, coarsely chopped
¼ cup crystallized citrus peel, coarsely chopped
¼ cup glace cherries, coarsely chopped
¼ cup dried apricots with sharp flavour, coarsely chopped
¼ cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
¼ cup dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
Zest of one large orange, finely grated
1.Pass the ricotta through a sieve into a medium sized bowl.
2.Add the fruit, nuts, chocolate and orange zest. Blend evenly.
3.Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

D. Icing and garnish:
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
6 fresh cherries with stalks or appropriate fruit garnish
1.Add sufficient lemon juice to mix the icing sugar to a smooth, spreadable texture.
2.Store in the refrigerator until required.

To assemble the Sicilian Cassata:
1.Line the inside if a 23 cm diameter spring baking tin with cling food wrap, ensuring there is plenty hanging over the sides to cover the top of the cassata.
2.Roll the marzipan into two long oblongs of 0.4 cm thickness on a bench dusted with icing sugar. Ensure they fit the depth and inner circumference of the tin.
3.Ease the marzipan into place so it covers the sides of the tin
4.Using the removable bottom of the tin as a template, cut a circle of sponge.
5.Trim if required to fit the round of sponge to cover the bottom of the tin.
6.Mix the sweet dessert wine with the orange juice. Sprinkle half over the sponge in the tin.
7.Spread the ricotta filling evenly over the sponge bottom.
8.Top the cake with wedges of sponge which are cut to fit.
9.Sprinkle with the remaining half of dessert wine and orange juice.
10.Cover with the ends of cling food wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or for a minimum of 3 hours.
11.Before serving, complete the cake by inverting it onto a cake plate or stand. Remove the cling food wrap and discard.
12.The marzipan will have overlapped the edge of the cake, covering it.
13.Smooth the white icing over the sponge circle showing on top and garnish with fresh fruit.

The Sicilian Cassata is best eaten after its first refrigeration. Keep in an air-tight container in a cool dark place or fridge for up to 4-5 days.

Enjoy! Bon appetite! Andiamo a mangiare!