Create an easier but still tempting Sicilian Cassata

Yankee Chef logoBy Jim Bailey

The directions for Strawberry Plum Cassata look long and tedious but trust me on this. My recipe gives you the same great taste as the Sicilian original, but with far less ingredients and a prep time that is cut in half. If desired, replace the orange juice with Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur. Or you could buy one orange for the zest and have 2 cups orange juice on hand for the recipe.

strawberryplumcassatta4 to 5 large oranges
2 pounds purple plums, peeled, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (15-ounce) tub fat-free ricotta cheese, drained well
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
orange zest
6 (1-inch thick) slices Strawberry Batter Bread *


Grate enough orange rind to make 1 teaspoon; set aside. Squeeze oranges to make 2 cups; set aside. Mix 1 tablespoon orange juice with 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth; set aside.

Place plums and 1 cup of orange juice in a large skillet over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook, while stirring and breaking up frequently, until plums are softened, about 5 minutes. Add cornstarch slurry and stir for one minute, or until thickened. Remove plum mixture from heat and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, thoroughly mix ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, orange zest, vanilla and cinnamon; set aside.

Line a loaf pan with film wrap, draping it over all sides. Place two slices batter bread to snugly fit into the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle 1/3 orange juice (or the remaining cup) evenly over the top of bread.

Spread half the ricotta mixture evenly over bread slices, smoothing out with a spoon that has been dipped in water if needed. Lay down half the plum mixture, again smoothing the top out.

Repeat with bread, a third of the orange juice, remainder of ricotta mixture and rest of plum mixture.

Place the remaining bread slices on top and drizzle remainder of orange juice evenly over the top. Cover with film wrap and refrigerate at least six hours, or overnight, to firm completely before slicing to serve.

Enough for 8 servings.

* I used leftover Strawberry Batter Bread. (Recipe can be found at But you can also use pound cake, coffee cake or any sweet bread that has been baked in a loaf pan.

NOTE: This is easily converted into a summertime frozen treat by mixing the ricotta cheese with softened vanilla ice cream. Spread as directed above and freeze dessert overnight. It will easily slice once taken from the freezer.

From the author: My very first book-signing for my newest cookbook, Refreshed, will be held at the Boothbay Harbor Fest from Friday Sept. 9 through Sunday, Sept. 11. I will be signing right alongside my longtime friend, celebrity chef Ronaldo Linares, who holds the No. 1  spot on Amazon with his newest cookbook. I hope to see many of you there.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.