Cassatedde are Sicilian half-moon shaped pockets of pastry with a sweet filling that may be
either fried or baked. They can be considered a mini sweet version of a calzone. Variations of
these pastries are made all over southern Italy. The name for these treats also varies; some
call them cavazunes, calzoons, St.Giuseppe's Pants, or other local folk names. Cassatedde
may be filled with a ricotta cheese mixture flavored with chocolate chips and lemon or orange
zest or the filling can be made with pureed garbanzo beans flavored with chocolate, nuts, and
candied fruit. The warm pastries may also be rolled in granulated sugar or a mixture of
cinnamon and sugar or drizzled with honey. Cassatedde are a popular treat served during
Carnevale, for St. Joseph's Day, Easter, or any special occasion.
You can choose either the ricotta or garbanzo bean filling.
Each filling recipe will fill 24 pastries.
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1-1/2 pounds ricotta cheese, drained *
1/2 cup sugar
3 ounces semisweet mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon grated orange or lemon zest
Chocolate Garbanzo Bean Filling:
1 (16 ounce) can garbanzo beans
3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
To make the pastry dough:
Put the flour in the bowl of a food processor. Add the melted butter, whole egg, and egg yolk. Pulse until the mixture form large crumbs. Gradually add the Marsala until the mixture forms a dough. The dough should be stiff but not too dry. Wrap the dough and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
To make the ricotta filling:
(See the note about ricotta cheese below)
Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
To make the garbanzo bean filling:
Drain the garbanzo beans. Holding each bean between your fingers, slip off the skin. Put the beans in the bowl of a food processor. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler. Place the melted chocolate, walnuts, honey, and cinnamon in the food processor. Process the mixture until smooth; set aside.
To assemble the cassatedde:
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness.
With a 3-1/2 to 4-inch round biscuit/cookie cutter, cut out 24 rounds.
Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each dough round.
Fold in half and seal by pressing the edges together with your fingertips.
Use the tines of a fork to press the edges together firmly.
If the edges do not seal well, moisten the edges of each round with a little water. Place the filled pastries on a floured surface or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
In a large wide saucepan, add the frying oil to a depth of 2 inches.
You can use a deep-fryer, if you prefer. Heat the oil to about 370 degrees.
Add as many of the filled pastries that can fit without crowding.
Cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the cooked pastries to a paper-towel line plate.
Fry the remainder in the same way. Dust the pastries with confectioners’ sugar.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
The moisture content of ricotta cheese can vary; excess moisture can make the pastries soggy. To eliminate any excess moisture, the ricotta should be drained. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Add the ricotta to the strainer. Place the strainer and bowl in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. When ready to use, discard the liquid in the bowl.
Modern espresso machines have the technological advantage, but there's much to be said for keeping it simple with a stovetop brewer. While they may not yield a perfect crema, they brew a great espresso.
PLAIN ROUND CUTTER SET
This is a great basic set for any professional or home baker's cookie cutter collection. This set 12 round cutters with a plain edge, ranging in size from .88- to 4.4-inches in diameter. The cutters are constructed from durable stainless steel and can be used to cut cassatedde, cookie dough, pastries and other foods.
MORE THAN JUST A DEEP FRYER
So versatile, you'll use it every day. Make soups and casseroles, Steam vegetables and rice, cook pasta, roast beef, pork, and poultry, and deep fry in the handy steam/fry basket.
ITALIAN CHRISTMAS EVE
The Eve of Seven Fishes invites you into the author's Italian kitchen with recipes centered around the special Italian meal prepared on Christmas Eve. The recipes, stories, and history in The Eve of Seven Fishes will take you back to the days of celebrating a simple but traditional Italian Christmas.