Cassatelle di ricotta alla Trapanese
You can almost see the calories in this great local dessert from Trapani. Known in the Sicilian dialect as Cassateddi it isn’t so much the calorie count but rather the weight of the ricotta that leaves you feeling you may have over-eaten these delicious half-moon shaped treats. One is usually enough, two cassatelle makes you feel that a bit of exercise may be a good idea to burn the excess energy consumed.
We bought a few cassetelle from a local pasticceria (pastry shop) in Erice, though they are easy to make at home. In my opinion the icing sugar coating was overdone – I prefer a light dusting.
Cassetelle are best fresh since, as with cannoli, the moisture in the ricotta makes the pastry soggy after a time. A damp cannolo is not nice but a cassetelle that is less than fresh is still ok.
Cassetelle with ricotta and chocolate chip filling
250 gm plain flour
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
40 gm caster sugar
80 ml white wine
a light vegetable oil should be used for frying the cassatelle
300 g ricotta (well drained)**
3 tbsp caster or icing sugar
1 lemon (finely grated zest)
A few pieces of candied lemon/orange peel or chocolate chips (I like no more than half a dozen small bits per cassetelle, and prefer the fruit to chocolate chip)
Icing sugar for dusting before serving.
** To make a vegan version, try using or making a cashew nut ricotta. I haven’t tried this yet but am confident the cassatelle flavour will be enjoyable.
Mix the ricotta, sugar and candied peel in a bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge until the pastry is ready.
To make the pastry, mix the flour and sugar then add the wine. Continue stirring the mixture while adding water until the dough is firm (neither hard nor too soft). Place in the fridge for an hour.
Roll out the pastry until it is 2-3 mm thick (about 1/10th of an inch). Use a cookie cutter to make circles of 8 to 10 cm diameter.
Add a couple of spoonfuls of filling to each piece of pastry, slightly off-centre, then fold and seal the edges.
Fry until golden brown on both sides.
Remove excess oil from the cassetelle by draining on paper kitchen towels. Cover lightly with icing sugar and serve.