Baked Sicilian Cassata


Baked Sicilian cassata is a typical Sicilian dessert, among the most famous. A lighter and less sugary version of the classic traditional Sicilian cassata, rich in royal pasta and candied fruits that everyone now knows for its baroque beauty. A delicious cake that in Sicily is usually prepared during the Christmas and Easter holidays, but which nowadays is consumed on every occasion. Baked cassata is a shortcrust pastry dessert similar to a closed tart and filled with ricotta cream. The original recipe, ancient and poor, calls for a Sicilian shortcrust pastry with fewer eggs in the dough, but the variant of soft shortcrust pastry with the addition of egg yolks is equally good. This dough is more elastic, easy to roll out and, once cooked, your pastry will be soft and fragrant, and will not split when cut!
This version of Sicilian cassata includes a little-known variant: the shortcrust pastry shell, in addition to its filling of sheep's ricotta and chocolate chips, contains within it 2 thin discs of sponge cake which will serve to retain the humidity of the ricotta without compromising the consistency of the shortcrust pastry. As an alternative to sponge cake, there are those who add crumbled dry biscuits. Making it at home is quite simple, but to obtain an amazing result you need to use a very elastic and very crumbly shortcrust pastry. At this point all you need to do is equip yourself with a classic non-stick cake pan or one with flared edges, even a springform mold is fine. There are no excuses not to make it happen with us. And after taking it out of the oven, let it cool completely and add the magical touch of icing sugar, it will be a success!

RECIPE

For the ricotta cream

  • 200 g sheep's ricotta dry
  • 50 g powdered sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 20 g chocolate chips

It will also serve you

  • 2 thin discs of sponge cake circa 100 g cad.
  • farina 00 extra for the worktop
  • Sieve the ricotta and collect it in a bowl (better if left to drain overnight, this way it will lose the whey and be more compact).

  • Add the sugar and mix with the help of a whisk. Add the lemon zest and chocolate chips. Cover with cling film and set aside in the refrigerator.

  • Divide the shortcrust pastry into two parts. Work it with your hands to soften it and, with the help of a rolling pin, flatten a first disc with a thickness of 4-5 mm. If necessary, dust the work surface with a little flour.

  • Place it directly on the previously buttered and floured baking tray, making the edges overflow towards the outside. Line the baking tray and cut off the excess edges with a rolling pin. If necessary, help yourself with a knife.

  • Prick the bottom with a fork and cover everything with a disc of sponge cake. At this point, pour in the ricotta cream and, with the help of the back of a spoon, distribute it evenly. Leave a 1cm margin from the edge of the pan.

  • Place the second disc of sponge cake on top, press lightly and cover with the pastry disc of the same thickness as the first.

  • Eliminate the excess dough, seal the edges well by applying pressure with your fingers. Finally, with a smooth-bladed knife, make slits by sticking it perpendicular to the cake.

  • Place in a preheated oven at 180°, in fan mode, on a level lower than the central one. Cook for 30 minutes. It should be golden and well cooked.

  • Once cooked, let it cool completely and turn it over with the help of a flat plate or tray. Dust the surface with icing sugar. Decorate, creating diagonal lines, using the tip of a smooth-bladed knife.

The shortcrust pastry can be flavored to taste. In this case we added 2 teaspoons of dry Marsala to the mixture. If you don't like it you can omit it.
If the surface browns excessively after cooking, place a sheet of aluminum foil on top.
You can create a decoration using ground cinnamon, making transversal crossing lines.
If you don't have the whole disc of sponge cake, you can also use coarsely crumbled pieces to cover the entire surface.

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