Dry Fruits and Nuts Turnover
(“Ravioli con frutta secca
The cassateddi are another spin-off
of the breast of virgin, the minni of virgin, originally made around March 20, when the spring equinox occurs
and the spring season begins; now they are prepared all year around as a snack or as dessert.
Those delicious pastries are filled with ricotta cream; however there are many variations to the original recipe:
and in fact in some places, the cassateddi are filled with vanilla or chocolate custard or with preserved fruits.
Let me add that the savory filling
made with the ricotta made in Trapani from sheep’s milk or the particular taste of the cassateddi made in Syracuse where honey is used instead of sugar, are
The dry fruits cassateddi are baked
and usually shaped like a turnover; except in the islands of Ustica and Lipari where the cassateddi are formed
into a horse shoe or “S” shape and clipped on the top to allow the vapor to escape. In Ustica and Lipari because
raisins are produced in large quantities, part of the dry figs are substituted with
In the province of Ragusa the nucatuli are a very similar pastry. The filling is made in a different way,
also the dough encloses it on the sides and leaves open the top showing the dry fruits and honey mixture.
This recipe will make 24 baked Cassateddi.
For the Filling
peels of 2 fresh oranges
1 lb. of dry figs stemmed and cut into 6 to 8
½ lb. raisins
¼ cup bitter or semisweet
chopped chocolate (optional)
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
1 cup of sugar
red wine to cover ( over a pint)
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds (use a knife to
1 teaspoons vanilla
For the Dough
2 lb. Semolina flour
½ cup granulated sugar or 6 tablespoons of
6 tablespoons of olive oil or 4 oz. Crisco or
2 large eggs
½ cup of Marsala wine or 2 shots of cognac or vodka
small pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
water if needed
To ready the
orange peels for the filling, rinse in cold water, dry and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. When cooled, cut
them with scissors into very thin strips to resemble “angel’s hair”- capelli
In a large pot without a cover, at a medium heat place
the figs, raisins, almonds, chocolate (optional), cinnamon, cloves,
1 cup of sugar, orange peels and the red wine to cover the ingredients and cook it, stirring often. Do not
After 20 minutes stir in the vanilla and continue simmering until the wine is absorbed into the filling. It takes
about 45 minutes. Mixture should be chunky.
Transfer into a large bowl to cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days
until ready to use.
Mix all ingredients to make dough and knead for 4-5 minutes. Dough should be smooth and more
consistent of bread or pizza dough. Add some water if the dough is too hard to knead.
Cover and rest dough for 20/30 minutes.
Prepare some cookie sheets by
lightly greasing or cover with parchment paper and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Divide the dough in 4 pieces, and divide each piece into 6 pieces, shape each piece into balls.
Roll each piece of dough with a rolling pin to 1/8 inch, giving an elliptical shape.
In the center of each piece, place 1 teaspoon of filling, and pull over the stuffed dough the long way, in the
shape of a half moon, press down on the borders, making sure they are properly sealed to avoid the filling from
leaking. Place them in a greased baking sheet. Using a pair of scissors cut 3 or more slits on top of each cookie so steam can escape and the
filling is visible. When you have prepared all the
cassatelle proceed with the baking.
Egg wash the cassatelle and bake at 375 degrees, until golden color, 10 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with a light dusting of powdered sugar or honey, serve hot or cold.
The Cassateddi Ustica and Lipari Style
Retrieve dough from refrigerator,
divide dough in 8 pieces (cut into 4 pieces and each piece in half); work one piece at a time, leaving remaining
dough covered with a kitchen rag or plastic wrap.
Dust working surface with flour and place one piece of dough in center; fold and press with the palm of your hands
a few times and roll it out into a cylinder shape (like a sausage) 15 inches in length. Than with the help of a
rolling pin, flatten the pastry dough into a rectangle 4 to 5 inches wide and about 1/8 of an inch thick. Use a
pinwheel cookies cutter to divide in 3 pieces, and go over the edge away with the pinwheel to decorate
Spoon out and place some filling in
the center of each piece, leaving clear ¼ inch on each side.
Lift the side facing you, over the
top of the filling, moisten the other side with water and roll over to completely enclose the fig
Gently place the cassatedda into
baking cookie sheet with the sealed part on the top and shape into a horse shoe or “S” and slit a few cuts on
the top of each cookie to allow the vapor to escape.
If pastry dough is too fragile
spread it on parchment paper, so it will be easer to handle.
Bake at 375 degrees, until golden color, 20 to 25 minutes.
Sprinkle with a light dusting of powdered sugar and serve hot or cold.