Cassata is a traditional dessert from Sicily. It consists of cake that is moistened with liqueur and layered with ricotta. In our adaption, the “cake” is made from Italian lemon cookies and we build individual Cassata towers in mason jars. Lemon is a keynote flavor of spring, making these a great dessert for Easter. —Cookies con Amore
Cake and Filling
Cookies con Amore lemon nonna cookies
rum or Marsala
semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
glass mason jars
heavy whipping cream
rum or Marsala
shaved chocolate, orange, mint, fresh berry or sliced almonds to garnish
Prepare the cake layers: for best results, order lemon "nonna" cookies from CookiesconAmore.com, available in regular and gluten-free. Slice the cookies horizontally into 2 layers. Next, combine the rum (or Marsala) with the water. Use a pastry brush to brush each side of the cookies slices with the liquor mixture.
Create the filling: In a bowl, combine ricotta, powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla with an electric mixer. Once smooth (it won’t totally be smooth due to the natural texture of the ricotta) hand stir in the chips and zest. Cover and refrigerate. You could refrigerate the filling overnight, if needed.
Build the cassata towers: place a single layer of cake in the bottom of 4 glass mason jars, and spread with 1 ½ tablespoon of filling mixture. Repeat to create 3 or 4 layers, leaving ½ inch from the rim. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best. The next day, unwrap jar and add the frosting (see below).
Whip the cream, powdered sugar and liquor until firm peaks are formed.
Using two strong spatulas, top each of the cassata towers with the whipped cream mixture and decorate with shaved chocolate, orange, mint, fresh berry or sliced almonds (if desired).