Cassata is one of my favorite cakes. Not only is it fun to say, but it's delicious to eat: a traditional Sicilian cake involving marzipan, cannoli-like cream, and more goodness (you can read about a really good one I ate in New Orleans, here).
And guess what? Cassata translates well in popsicle form. Hooray!
This delicious popsicle comes from the book Ice Pops! by Nadia and Cesar Roden. Somehow this book manages to combine a sophisticated adult palate with enough whimsy and summer fun to make this book a true pleasure, page after page. Viva la popsicle!
Here's the recipe from the book.
We’ve managed to put Italy on a stick here, with this traditional Sicilian dessert converted to an ice pop. Creamy ricotta is mixed with chopped nuts like almonds and pistachios, chopped candied fruits, and tiny pieces of chocolate.
- 2 cups ricotta
- 1 3⁄4 cups heavy cream
- scant 3⁄4 cup superfine sugar
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4–6 tablespoons milk, depending on the thickness of the ricotta 1 ounce candied orange peel
- 1 ounce candied lemon peel
- scant 1⁄4 cup shelled pistachios
- scant 1⁄4 cup blanched almonds
- 1 1⁄2 ounces dark chocolate
- 1 teaspoon grated orange or lemon zest (optional)
- Put the ricotta, cream, sugar, and vanilla in a food processor and blend very briefly until smooth. (The mix will thicken slightly.) Pour into a bowl and stir in the milk to thin the mixture, but not too much, as the chopped ingredients need to float in the mixture.
- Chop the candied peels, nuts, and chocolate into small pieces and stir into the ricotta mixture. Mix in the zest, if using.
- Spoon the mixture into your ice pop molds, and bang the molds hard on the table so there are no big air bubbles. Leave 1⁄4‐inch at the top to let the mixture expand when it freezes. Insert the ice pop sticks and freeze. If you like, save a little chopped chocolate or candied fruit to sprinkle onto the frozen ice pops.
Reprinted with permission from Ice Pops published in 2015 by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. © Cesar and Nadia Roden. Photography by Adam Slama