Sicilian ricotta cake – Cassata siciliana

Ingredients

675 g ricotta

finely grated rind of 1 orange

2 sachets of vanilla sugar

75 ml orange-flavoured liqueur

115 g candied peel

8 trifle sponge cakes

60 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

extra candied peel, to decorate

1. Push the ricotta through a sieve into a bowl, add the orange rind, vanilla sugar and 15 ml of the liqueur and beat well to mix. Transfer about one-third of the mixture to another bowl, cover and chill until serving time.

2. Finely chop the candied peel and beat into the remaining ricotta cheese mixture until evenly mixed. Set aside while you prepare the tin.

3. Line the base of a 1,2 litre loaf tin with non-stick baking paper. Cut the trifle sponges in half through their thickness. Arrange four pieces of sponge side by side in the bottom of the loaf tin and sprinkle with 15 ml each of liqueur and orange juice.

4. Put one-third of the ricotta and fruit mixture in the tin and spread it out evenly. Cover with four more pieces of sponge and sprinkle with another 15 ml each liqueur and orange juice as before.

5. Repeat the alternate layers of ricotta mixture and sponge until all the ingredients are used, soaking the sponge pieces with liqueur and orange juice each time. And ending with soaked sponge. Cover with a piece of non-stick baking paper.

6. Cut a piece of card to fit inside the tin, place on top of the non-stick baking paper and weigh down evenly. Chill for 24 hours.

7. To serve, remove the weighs, card and paper and run a palette knife between the sides og the cassata and the tin. Invert a serving plate on top of the cassata, then invert the two so that the cassata is upside down on the plate. Peel off the lining paper.

8. Spread the chilled ricotta mixture over the cassata to cover it completely, then decorate the top with candied peel. Serve chilled.


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