Italian Easter Cake - Cassata Alla Siciliana
Easter traditionally conjures images of chocolate bunnies, Easter egg hunts and new beginnings. Whereas Sicily elicits images of sun-drenched coasts, fine wine and clear blue skies. However, bring the two together and you have one of Easter's best-kept secrets!
Traditionally served as a festive dessert on Easter Sunday, Cassata Alla Siciliana, is an Italian cake with three layers of light sponge, soaked in a liqueur of your choice, sandwiched between a chocolate / citrus / ricotta mix and finished with plain ricotta, pistachios and lemon.
Although it can take a while to make, this gluten free version of cassata alla siciliana, is sure to impress. It is a stand-out centre piece on any table and was certainly a hit at the baby shower I went to recently!
I chose to make mine in the form of a rectangle-box like shape to ensure it stays true to its name. As the word "box" in Italian is "cassata” and from my reading it seems likely that the word "cassata" originated from this term. I also chose to use raspberry flavoured liqueur (chambord) to drench my sponge in.
The only piece of advice I would give when making this dessert, is to make sure you use a small deep loaf tin, to make cutting your sponge into the three layers all the more easier! Other than that, this recipe is very easy to follow and makes a rich and delicious dessert.
So tell me fellow foodie, what is your favourite Easter gluten free recipe?
Cassata Alla Siciliana
Here's what you'll need...
- 3 eggs
- 200g caster sugar (divided into 75g and 125g)
- 1 tsp grated lemon rind (divided into two 1/2 tsps)
- 1/2 cup plain gluten free flour
- 450g ricotta
- 5 Tbsp chambord (or liqueur of your choice)
- 50g plain chocolate, finely chopped
- 50g mixed peel
- 50g pictachios, chopped (divided into 1 Tbsp and remainder)
And here's how to make it ...
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease and line the base of a small loaf tin.
- Using an electric beater, beat together the eggs and 75g of caster sugar and 1/2 tsp lemon rind until thick and pale. This might take some time. Carefully fold in the flour.
- Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together ricotta, 125g caster sugar and 2 Tbsp liqueur. Divide this mixture into 2 bowls. To one bowl add the chocolate, mixed peel and 1 Tbsp pistachios. Leave the other mixture as is.
- Once the cake is cool, very carefully cut into three layers using a serrated knife. Place one layer on a plate and drizzle with 1 Tbsp liqueur. Spread with half the ricotta/chocolate mixture. Repeat this layering, drizzling and spreading with the rest of the sponge, liqueur and ricotta/chocolate mixture.
- Place the final layer of the cake on top. Spread the whole cake with the plain ricotta mixture and decorate with remaining nuts and lemon rind.
- Let sit in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour to ensure liqueur has sunk through and serve well chilled.
Adapted from The New Zealand Gluten-Free Cookbook by Jim Boswell
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