Sicilian Cassata


serves 6 to 8

1 sponge cake
1 kg / 2 lb. 2 oz. sheep’s milk ricotta
200 g / 7 oz. almond flour
200 g / 7 oz. confectioners’ sugar + extra for the icing
300 g / 11 oz. granulated sugar
70 g / 2 ½ oz. semisweet chocolate
150 g / 5 ½ oz. pistachios
1 vanilla pod
whole candied fruits for the garnish
green food coloring
vegetable oil to grease the pan 





difficulty 4/5 | preparation time 1 hour (plus 2 hours for the cake to rest in the refrigerator)

For the marzipan: combine the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl, add the pistachio flour (made by finely grinding and then sifting the pistachios), and a few drops of the food coloring to obtain a mint-green color.
Knead the dough until the marzipan is soft and compact. Use a rolling pin to roll out the marzipan dough, then cut it into wide strips long enough to line the sides of the cake pan. Line the sides of a greased pan with the marzipan strips. Cut the sponge
cake into thin strips and use them to line the bottom of the pan.
To make the cream filling, strain the ricotta, then blend in the sugar and the vanilla. Chop the semisweet chocolate into pieces the size of coffee beans, and add to the ricotta cream. Spread the ricotta cream evenly on top of the cake, leaving enough room for another thin layer of cake on top.
Refrigerate the cassata for a few hours. Turn the cake upside down onto a serving plate, and top with icing made from confectioners’ sugar and a small amount of water. Let the icing dry and then garnish with candied fruits.

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