A Sicilian Dessert That Has It All

Its look dazzles. Its taste does the same.

When you see it, all sweet and colorful, the Cassata Siciliana Cake is enigmatic. Its qualities make the mind take the back seat, bringing forth the senses with surprising, divine delight! Only an island like Sicily could bring this incredible dessert to life, and only a city like Palermo could showcase it. In just one bite, the best ingredients of the island come forth in a harmonious symphony: sweetened ricotta, sponge cake, marzipan, and candied fruit. Almond paste, the aroma of jasmine, and bright colors bring music to the palate.

The history of the ingredients and their unfathomable journey to become a part of this exquisite dessert adds to the flavor. The Greeks contributed with gifts of honey and ricotta. And the Byzantines left the aromas of cinnamon and vanilla. Their unique combination adds texture and flavor, balance and contrast, finishing the dessert in decadent harmony.

Ricotta cheese is the protagonist of two Sicilian masterpieces: the Cassata, the symbol of the island’s pastry tradition, and Cannoli. And the production of dried fruit provides confectioners with walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, and almonds. The famous almonds from Avola are most essential in preparing the royal paste, which is the basic ingredient of many Italian goodies. Chief among them is the Martorana fruit, once a specialty of the nuns in the Martorana convent near Palermo.

So when you’re visiting Sicily, make room in your schedule and in your appetite to try this slow-to-melt-in-your-mouth treat! Have your camera ready too, because its beauty is worthy of capturing.

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