Easter Cake Recipe from Sicily - Cassata

This traditional Sicilian cake is made of sponge cake, soaked in liquor, and layered with ricotta cheese. It is often loaded with candied fruits, and decorated with marzipan and more candied fruit. A stunning centre piece for your Easter celebrations!

Ingredients:

  • 400g ricotta
  • 400g mascarpone
  • Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g mixed glace or candied fruits, chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 125g pistachios, plus extra slivered to garnish
  • 125g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g ready-to-roll white marzipan

Glaze:

  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 45g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1 tbs honey

Method:

  1. Begin this recipe at least 12 hours ahead.
  2. Line a 20cm-diameter pudding bowl with plastic wrap. Place the ricotta in a bowl and beat with electric beaters until smooth. Beat in the mascarpone and orange and lemon zests until combined. Place the eggs and the sugar in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk for 8 minutes or until thick, shiny and glossy. Remove from heat and whisk until cooled. Fold into the ricotta mixture, then fold in the fruit, pistachios and chocolate. Pour into the lined bowl and place in the freezer for at least 12 hours or until set.
  3. For the glaze, combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until melted, then set aside to cool.
  4. Remove semifreddo from freezer 20 minutes before serving, to soften slightly. Carefully invert onto a serving plate, gently pulling on plastic wrap to remove semifreddo from the bowl. If it is being stubborn, lower into a large bowl of hot water for 5-10 seconds to loosen.
  5. Knead the marzipan to soften, then roll out on an icing sugar dusted surface until 3mm thick. Roll marzipan around a rolling pin, then gently unroll over cassata. Smooth marzipan and trim the edges. Pour over the chocolate glaze (it should be runny but not warm), letting it drip nicely down the sides. Scatter plate with candied fruit and slivered pistachios to serve.

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