di Ricotta”-“Dolce ri Ricuotta”)
One of my family preferred torte
(cake) is the bakedcassata. In
Palermo, it can be bought in pastry shops,le
dolcerie where it is made around the holidays or can be baked
at home without too many difficulties.
Mr. Lombardo baked this cake for us to celebrate our family’s special occasions. Mr. Lombardo, a master baker and a
family’s friend, worked at Dagnino, one of the most respected bakery and pastry shop in Palermo.
I used this simple and tasty recipe with success, when I was the owner of La Rinascente Pastry Shop, downtown
The recipe may look complicated but once you undertake the baking of this cake, you will find it is an easy and
simple task, with rewarding and very delicious results. A slice of cassata
can be part of a special breakfast, it can be served as a snack or
after dinner with an espresso
coffee or abicchierino, a
glass of Marsala wine or rosolio.
SERVES 10 TO 12
cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups of
unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks)
tablespoons of honey
1/4 teaspoon of
Zest of 1
cups ricotta (1 ½ lb.)
tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate shavings or chips
tablespoons of diced citron or assorted diced candied fruits
Zest of 1
cups of crumbled sponge cake (store bought)
egg beaten to egg wash for the baking
and cinnamon powder for dusting
Mix well all the filling’s ingredients, except the sponge cake crumbs.
Mound flour on a flat surface and form a well. Add the butter, sugar, honey, baking powder, salt and lemon zest:
using your hands mix and blend all ingredients. Add eggs knead and bring dough together to forms it into a
If the dough is to dry, add a few drops of water to moisten it.
Fold and press with the palm of your hands; if dough is sticky, add some more flour.
When dough forms into a single mass, set aside and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
Do not over mix. Do not handle dough more than necessary.
Clean your hands and the working surface and discard scraps.
Prepare a 10 inch round pan (use a springs pan if available) coat sides and bottom with butter.
Retrieve dough from refrigerator, dust the working surface with flour and divide it in two pieces. With the help of
a rolling pin, flatten one piece of dough into a round big enough to cover the bottom and side of the pan (about 15
inches); the dough does not have to be perfectly smooth.
Place 1 cup of the sponge cake crumbs into the pan lined with dough and top them with the ricotta filling. Spread
the filling and cover with remaining sponge cake crumbs.
Dust the working surface with flour and flatten the remaining dough using the rolling pin. Shape it into a round to
cover the cassata
and pinch the edges together.
Egg wash the cassata
and make three slits on the top to let vapor escape.
Preheat oven at 375 degrees.
To ensure that the bottom of the cassata is well baked, place it close to the lowest level of the oven and bake for
45 minutes to one hour until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack or continue baking until cake is
Cool at room temperature and before serving sprinkle it with a light dust of powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Photo courtesy of Mrs.Christine Zinna formally
Island, now in