Sicilian Cassatelle, a classical dessert from an old tradition

Sicilian Cassatelle are a beautiful, traditional Sicilian dessert. In fact, they’ve been a part of our culture for so long, the first written recipe we have of them is from the 1700s, but they were probably made even years before. Today they remain so important to Sicilian gastronomy that they’ve been included in the Italian Ministry of Agriculture’s list of P.A.T. products, or the list of the best Traditional Agri-food Products of Italy.

So, what is a Cassatelle? Essentially, it’s a fried raviolo stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese. (We’re in Sicily, so of course ricotta is present!) But they’re also so much more than that. They’re delicious treats that showcase Sicilian creativity, and prove how necessity can often lead to invention: Because of the high temperatures in Sicily, ricotta was often hard to maintain. Sugar was added to the ricotta to help preserve it, and here we are, with the invention of the Cassatelle, a pasta that was turned into a desert! 

The sweetened ricotta, enhanced with just a touch of cinnamon, is really the soul of the recipe. It’s one of the most interesting experiments within the vast Sicilian Pastry Tradition, and we hope you’ll try it to see why! 

INGREDIENTS FOR MAKE CASSATELLE:

  • 300gr 00 Flour
  • 30gr Sugar
  • 50gr Butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 table spoon Marsala Wine (or Porto or similar)
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 1 organic orange
  • salt
  • 350gr ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil or a vegetable oil

PREPARATION:

In a bowl, combine the Flour, Sugar, Butter, and Marsala wine. 

Add the zest of the lemon and orange and start to kneed. 

When the dough is compact enough, move it onto a cutting board or table surface and continue to kneed until it’s smooth. 

Then, wrap it in plastic and put it aside to rest for about one hour.

In the meantime, combine the ricotta cheese, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well with a fork. 

When the dough is ready, use a rolling pin or pasta machine to roll out long strips similar to lasagne, about 2/3 cm thick.

Once your ‘lasagne’ strips are complete, use a spoon to scoop small amounts of the seasoned ricotta cheese onto your dough. Use your finger to measure the same distance between each scoop.

Now, it’s time to cut your cassatelle, and the rim of a glass is a perfect shape. Use a glass to cut the dough in a circular shape around each spooned bit of ricotta.

Fold each cassatelle closed, and seal the edges with a fork.

Now, it’s time to fry. Pour a bit of olive oil or vegetable oil in a frying pan. (It should be just enough to coat the surface of the pan, around 4 tablespoons.) When the oil reaches a hot temperature, around 150°, move your cassatelle into the oil. Flip 1-2 times until they are golden on both side, and then move them directly in a colander to drain the excess of oil. 

A drop of honey on top? Why not! Our Cassatelle are ready, buon appetito!

We make recipes like this, and more, in our online cooking classes. We hope you’ll join us. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the invitations.

Now, it’s time to cut your cassatelle, and the rim of a glass is a perfect shape. Use a glass to cut the dough in a circular shape around each spooned bit of ricotta.

Fold each cassatelle closed, and seal the edges with a fork.

Now, it’s time to fry. Pour a bit of olive oil or vegetable oil in a frying pan. (It should be just enough to coat the surface of the pan, around 4 tablespoons.) When the oil reaches a hot temperature, around 150°, move your cassatelle into the oil. Flip 1-2 times until they are golden on both side, and then move them directly in a colander to drain the excess of oil. 

A drop of honey on top? Why not! Our Cassatelle are ready, buon appetito!

We make recipes like this, and more, in our online cooking class online. We hope you’ll join us. Subscribe to our  newsletter to receive the invitations.