Cassata Siciliana - Dessert
Cassata alla Siciliana is a famous Italian layer cake from Sicily, which was originally served exclusively at Easter and at weddings. The name Cassata is derived from the Arabic term “quas´at”, which means "round bowl”.
4 eggs (medium)
2 packets vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
½ tsp. baking powder
50g ground almonds (without skin)
150g dark chocolate
50g pine nuts
150g candied fruits (e.g. glacé cherries, candied pineapple, lemon or orange peel, etc.)
9 sheets of white gelatine
500g whipped cream
750g ricotta cheese
4 tbsp. maraschino liqueur
For the sponge cake base, separate the eggs and beat the egg-white until stiff, while adding 100g of sugar and a packet of vanilla sugar and salt. Now add the yolk and stir in. Mix the flour, baking powder and cornflour, sieve them onto the egg mixture a bit at a time and fold in. Also fold in the almonds.
Line the base of a 26 cm spring form pan with baking paper. Pour in the dough and level off. Bake in a pre-heated oven (electric: 200 °C/ gas: mark 3) for 25 minutes.
Remove the cake base from the oven, loosen off the sides of the spring form immediately and allow to cool in the form, then remove from the form and allow to cool completely.
In the meantime prepare the filling: Coarsely chop the chocolate, pistachios and candied fruits separately. Now halve the cooled cake base and cut the upper part into eight pieces.
Line a round bowl (26 cm upper diameter) with cling film and sit the pieces of cake into the bowl in close proximity with the pointed side down.
Place 125ml of water and 300g of sugar into a pot, bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes, while stirring several times, until a syrup is achieved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Soak the gelatine in water. Whisk 250g whipped cream until stiff. Place the ricotta chees into a mixing bowl and using whisk of the mixer, stir until creamy. Add the syrup and liquor and stir in.
Squeeze the gelatine and melt it in a small pot on a low heat, stir in a few table spoons on ricotta cheese drip by drip, then stir into the remaining cream.
Reserve some of the candied fruits, chocolate and pistachios for decoration. Mix the remaining candied fruits, chocolate and pistachios into the crème and sit the cream in a cool place for 4 to 6 minutes, until it starts to gel over. Fold in the cream bit by bit and fill into the prepared bowl, cover with a lid, press down gently and sit in a cool place overnight.
After approx. 12 hours of standing time, turn the bowl upside down and carefully lift the bowl off the mixture. Remove the foil. Whisk 250g cream until stiff and add a packet of vanilla sugar. Spread the cake with the remaining cream and then sprinkle with the remaining candied fruits, chocolate and pistachios.