Green and extremely delicious. It’s simply Cassata siciliana, a traditional sweet from the region of Palermo in Sicily. Its taste is due to the Pan di Spagna (i.e. the sponge cake) with fruit juices or liqueur mixed with ricotta cheese, candied peel and a filling. The latter could be either a vanilla or chocolate one and is similar to cannoli siciliani cream. But that’s not all. The external cover is of marzipan and icing coloured in green and sometimes it’s beautifully decorated with candied fruit and very thin citrus fruit slices.
There are doubts about the name of the cake. Some think it is of Arabic origin and is related to the legend below. Others are of the opinion that it derives from the word caseata which means cheesy concoction. No matter where the name has derived from, Cassata siciliana is a real pleasure and very tasty.
And here is the legend. There was an Arab domination in Sicily in IX-XI centuries and during this period of time a great number of ingredients (including some of the ingredients used for the preparation of the cake) were brought to the island. One day an Arab shepherd was preparing a mixture of fresh cheese and honey in a round bowl when a man reached him and asked him what he was doing. The Arab didn’t understand the question well and thought he was asked about the bowl. That’s why he simply replied Quas’at which means a round bowl.
The other ingredients were added step-by-step through the centuries and historic periods and they all make la Cassata siciliana so greenly delicious and irresistible. Bon appétit! 🙂