If you have never tried to make Sicilian cassata before, now it's time to try. Here's the recipe!

Cassata

Level: Medium

Time: 40 minutes preparation, 0 minutes cooking

Yields 6 servings

Ingredients

For the shell

400 g circa sponge cake

300 g green marzipan

2-3 tbsp. sugar syrup

For the filling

700 g fresh sheep’s milk ricotta

350 g sugar

150 chocolate chips

For the icing

300 g confectioner’s sugar

Lemon juice

2 tbsp. apricot jelly

Assorted candied fruit: mandarin orange, cherry, zuccata (candied white pumpkin).

A cardboard disc, same size as the cake pan.

Method

For the cassata

Sift the ricotta and mix it with the sugar to obtain a soft, smooth and foamy cream. Add the diced candied fruit and the chocolate chips and mix well.

Cut the sponge cake into thin slices. With a rolling pin roll out the marzipan to 0.5 cm thickness.

Line a flared-edged cake pan (26 cm in diameter) with parchment paper and line the bottom with the sponge cake slices, fitting them one next to each other without leaving empty spaces.

To line the edges of the pan, cut out small rectangles of equal size from the sponge cake and marzipan and arrange them all around, alternating colours.

Sprinkle the sponge cake very lightly with the sugar syrup and finally pour the ricotta cream into the pan.

After leveling it, cover the entire surface with slices of sponge cake. Top with a disc of parchment paper, and lastly with the cardboard disc.

Press lightly with your open hand to let the cream settle and put the cassata in the refrigerator to harden for a few hours.

For the icing

Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a bowl and, stirring constantly, dilute it with filtered lemon juice. You will have to pour the lemon juice a few drops at a time until the icing takes on the right density. Dilute the apricot jelly with a drop of water, stirring over very low heat. Turn the cassata upside down on a flat serving plate, leaving the cardboard disc in place. Gently remove the paper and brush the entire surface with a thin layer of diluted gelatin, then pour the icing in the centre and, with a spatula, spread it to cover the entire cassata. The decoration with candied fruit must be done before the glaze dries so that the glaze itself acts as a glue. The traditional decoration of cassata is very baroque and uses bright colours. The long, thin and curved strips of white pumpkin simulate the petals of a flower, while the other candied fruit is arranged harmoniously to cover any empty spaces.