Monday, December 29, 2008

By Popular Demand: Cassata, the Sicilian Wedding Cake!

By popular demand of my #1 reader, Hardingfele, I am posting my recipe for Cassata, a Sicilian Wedding Cake, although I remain both non-Sicilian and unmarried. (That's OK because Hardingfele was born a Russian Jew, went through an Evangelical Christian stage, and is now a Unitarian, so she can celebrate whatever she wants this holiday season.) My mother (who is also not Sicilian but is married) always made a cassata for Christmas, so I made one once for the annual Christmas Bonomo Bash, and it was such a hit that I have had to make one ever since. (One year when Rich forgot to buy eggnog, I had to make that as well and have had to ever since, so I will post that recipe too.)

Cassata

1 pound cake
mini chocolate chips
one 15 oz container of ricotta cheese (the original recipe calls for a pound, but the containers come in 15 oz, and the heck if I am buying another container for one measly ounce!)
Bacardi Gold rum (I would not recommend using anything cheaper, but feel free to use something more top-shelf if you like)
orange juice concentrate
TSP vanilla extract
TBS heavy cream
1.5 cups sugar
16 oz semisweet chocolate
2 sticks UNSALTED butter (that is, half a pound)
3/4 cup of strong coffee

First you trim the edges off the pound cake and snack on them as you make the cassata. (I don't care how you acquire the pound cake; I usually get a frozen one, but if you want to make it yourself, be my guest.) Then slice the pound cake in thirds horizontally. Then you mix together the ricotta cheese, the heavy cream, the vanilla, the sugar, a TBS of rum, and a TBS of orange juice concentrate. (Or two TBS orange liqueur, like Gran Marnier; I believe the original recipe calls for that, and my mother never put any booze in hers, but I recommend spiking it with something.) Put in some mini chocolate chips (officially 2 oz but I just toss some in until it looks like the right amount), mix them into this filling, and then spread it between the layers of pound cake. Now stick it in the fridge for at least two hours. (In northern climates you can also set it outside on cold days, if the fridge is full of other food.)

Put the semisweet chocolate in a pan, or better yet a double boiler, over just enough heat to melt it. Pour the strong coffee over it, then melt the butter in bit by bit. Once it is all blended, let it cool enough so that it isn't so runny, then use it to frost the cassata. Then it has to sit for another two hours minimum. I HIGHLY recommend making this the day before you plan to eat it; I always make it on Christmas Eve.

Eggnog

(N.B.: this is the party-sized serving. It makes a LOT of eggnog.)

One dozen eggs
pint of half and half
pint of heavy cream
quart of milk (Richard Bonomo recommends whole milk, not just for eggnog but always)
Bacardi Gold rum (see above)
nutmeg
powdered cloves

First separate the eggs. (This is a pretty labor-intensive recipe.) In a HUGE punch bowl, mix the yolks with the milk, half and half, as much rum as you want (I generally put in about a cup and a half, to kill all the nasties in the raw eggs), and maybe a TSP or so each of nutmeg and cloves. Then, beat the egg whites until they form fluffy peaks. Beat the heavy cream until it is fluffy as well. Carefully fold in the egg whites and the heavy cream. Enjoy. Serves tons of people.

1 comment:

Hardingfele and Tailor said...

NICE WORK!
TAILOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!