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Cassateddi Dessert

mum's Cassateddi recipe

They’re officially called sweet ravioli of ricotta or in Italian cassatelle. I come from the Ragusa region and we call these cassateddi. My friends from the Messina and Catania region call them Sciauni. These half moon shapes are filled with sweet ricotta filling and then fried. They are best eaten warm and you’ll find it very very difficult to stop at two or three.

I put the word out that I was road testing these and was shocked to hear the variances in ingredients. Caroline from Lipari said we add rosemary. Jennie from Filicudi said she adds pumpkin. Angela from Messina adds cauliflower!!! I had never heard that before. Rosanne from Panarea dips them in vino cotto. Most of my Calabrese friends like the savoury ones with anchovies. My aunt adds fennel seeds. Beautiful comare Lina from Agirà use to add bits of apple!!! My cousin Carmel adds chocolate bits, my friend Mario adds ricotta, my mum had me even try a recipe with mash potato, the ones with potato are great to make if you aren’t eating them on the spot as the potato gives it that dense texture that still makes them quite edible even after a few hours. The ricotta or mash potato added makes them a lot more dense. I was so so excited to hear all these options so I was on a mission to find my favourite.

The votes are in and ultimately I have to say I prefer the original classic simple ones that are filled with sultanas and are light with airy pockets. I have given you two options to try. Of course this is my Zia Maria’s recipe, she’s my biggest influence these days with cooking.  My friend’s Aunt, Zia Jole from Francavilla has a different version, she adds 2 egg yolks and sugar to the recipe I’ve chosen.

That is what I love about food, from town to town everyone has their own mix on recipes. There really is no right or wrong, most of the time I find the majority of people love what they were brought up on. Perhaps it’s a familiar taste & that takes them back to their fond memories of their childhood and brings them comfort. So give these a try, have a play with the different ingredients and see what taste best to you.

Ingredients for the pastry

  • 500 grams of OO flour

  • 150 mls of dry sherry

  • 225 mls of water

  • Pinch of salt

  • Two tablespoon of olive oil

Ingredients for the filling

  • 400 grams of ricotta

  • 200 grams of sugar

  • Cinnamon to taste

  • Nutmeg to taste

  • Orange & lemon rind

  • Mix well together

  • Set aside 1 cup of caster sugar and cinnamon mixed together to place cassateddi in once they’ve been fried

Preparation

Combine ingredients well together until smooth. Let dough sit for 1/2 hour.


The dry sherry or Marsala gives the dough a slight sweet taste and golden colour. My personal preference is to use dry sherry.


Cut dough into 4 pieces. Sprinkle flour on bench and with a rolling pin roll dough flat. You can run the dough through a pasta machine going to about the second last setting which is fairly thin. Approximately 2millimetres in thickness.


Place two teaspoons of ricotta mixture on each square of pastry. Fold over making sure you seal down around the ricotta mound really well. Place a fork on pastry to make indents around the edges. Pierce cassateddi with a toothpick a couple of times before placing in oil.


Heat up 1 litre of oil in a deep saucepan. Place cassateddi in hot oil. You want the whole cassateddi submerged in the oil. Once you take them out of the oil quickly blot the excess oil on a paper towel then roll into mixture of caster sugar and cinnamon.


This recipe will make approximately 15–20 cassateddi depending on the size.


This is part of the reason why I began doing food tours, it gives you a chance to learn about all these great traditional recipes or ways of cooking. I founded this tour company to give people access to locations that most tour operators don’t visit or even think of taking people.

Carmel Ruggeri
Carmel Ruggeri

Carmel has grown up around people who love and appreciate great food & use it as a way to bring families together, to savour great moments & enjoy what life has to offer. Carmel founded Sicilian Food Tours to share those experiences with others.

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