Cassatelle, a Sicilian sweet dough, that are filled with a slightly sweetened ricotta and chocolate chip mixture, then usually deep-fried but can also be baked! Sprinkled with Powdered Sugar then served.
A while back I received an email from a reader asking me if I had ever heard of these Cassatelle Biscotti (cookies) from Sicily.
And if I had, did I have a recipe. Well after a little bit of digging and inquiring, I acquired this recipe.
These pastries are made with a simple Italian Pasta Frolla (pie dough) and then filled with a ricotta and chocolate chip filling. Basically the same filling used for Cannoli.
Cassatelle dough is made with a small (very small) amount of either White Wine, Brandy or Marsala, although you could probably just substitute with water or even white grape juice.
How to Make a Ricotta Filling
Depending on the Ricotta you buy, some brands are a little moister than others. The day before you decide to make your Cassatelle I think it is a good idea to place your ricotta in a sieve over a bowl,
that way the extra moisture will drain. And be sure to store it in the refrigerator.
Doing it this way will insure that your filling will remain creamy without any extra liquid.
Then when you are ready to make your Cassatelle, remove the drained ricotta from the fridge, place it in a medium bowl and mix it with the powdered sugar and fold in the chocolate chips.
How to Fry Pastries
- Always use a vegetable oil or peanut oil for frying (never olive oil). I don’t fry very often so I don’t like to reuse oil.
- I like to use a heavy bottomed pot but if you have a deep fryer even better.
- Heat the oil to the correct temperature before adding the pastry.
- Turn the pastry a couple of times while cooking.
- Remove cooked pastry from the pot with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- Fried food is always best eaten asap, if you have leftovers, be sure to refrigerate the pastry because of the ricotta filling.
More Delicious Italian Pastries
Pasticiotti Italian Cream Filled Pastries
This is actually the perfect time to make Cassatelle because they are eaten during Carnival “Carnevale” Time in Italy, along with Frappe and Castagnole.
So if you are like a lot of people and can’t get enough of Sicilian Sweets then why not give these Cassatelle a try and let me know what you think of them. Enjoy!
Cassatelle with Ricotta
- 1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (250 grams)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (40 grams)
- 1 pinch salt
- zest 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon white wine / brandy or Marsala*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon water (120 grams)
*If you don’t want to use alcohol then substitute with white grape juice or water.
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (250 grams)
- 1/4 cup powdered / icing sugar (sifted) (31 grams)
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (44 grams)
- Before making Cassatelle it is best to place the ricotta cheese in a sieve or cheese cloth over a bowl in the refrigerator, let it sit overnight before using.
- Once the ricotta has drained make the filling, place the drained ricotta in a medium bowl and mix with the sifted icing sugar until creamy, then fold in the chocolate chips, cover with plastic and place in the fridge until needed.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest, make a well in the middle and add the wine, olive oil and lemon juice, mix with a fork, then gradually add the water (you may not need it all) continue to mix together until you have a smooth and compact dough. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for one hour.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it very thin (you could also use a pasta machine for this). Using small or medium round cookie cutters cut out rounds, on half the round place 1 teaspoon of filling (a little less if using small rounds), fold over** the empty half and seal the edges with water then using the tongs of a fork seal around the edges to hold it together.
- Heat 2 inches of oil in a medium pot to 340F (170C), add 3 or 4 cassatelle at a time and fry until golden (turn them a couple of times frying for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown).
- Remove the cassatelle with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, when cool dust with powdered sugar and serve. Enjoy!
**When folding over the dough you may need to gently pull the dough, these are a very rustic pastry, so no need to make them look perfect.
If you want to bake these then bake in a pre-heated oven 350F (180C) for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
I would like to know if you can bake these instead of frying? I don’t do fried food.
Hi Phyllis, yes you can, there is instructions in the recipe card. Bake in a pre-heated oven 350F (180C) for about 20-25 minutes. I hope you enjoy them. Take care and have a great week!
Carol Karroum says
Looks delicious and definitely on my to try list. I’m looking for a recipe for
“S” cookies. My Sicilian grandmother would make these and I believe she would add a little red wine. The cookies are hard and used for dunking. The typical “S” cookie I’ve found are soft and sweet not at all like hers. Can you help? Thank you.
Hi Carol, you could be referring to these wine cookies, you can substitute with red wine if you prefer. They are hard and are used for dunking. https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/shortbread-cookies/ or here is a recipe for S cookies although they are not very hard, crunchy though and no wine involved. Hope that helps. Take care. Have a great weekend.
Hello! These look delicious. I am looking for a similar “cookie” my Nonna used to make that no one in my family knows/remembers how she made. They were very similar to this. Is the dough softer or crunchy when made? Hers were a bit softer more than crunchy and also flaked or layered, if you will.
Hi Amanda, this is between a slight crunch and soft and it is flaky because it uses an Italian Pastry dough. 🙂
JO MARIE CUCCHIARA says
RECIPE LOOKS WONDERFUL AND I AM GOING TO DEFINITELY TRY.
MY QUESTION IS DO YOU THINK I COULD MAKE THEM, FREEZE AND THEN FRY WHEN I NEED THEM
Hi Jo Marie, thanks so much, and yes definitely you could freeze and then fry when you want them. 🙂
MaryAnn Reinke says
Thanks so much MaryAnn, glad you enjoyed it. Take care.
Is it possible to freeze these cookies?
Hi Cathy if you fry them then I would not advise you to freeze them, but if you bake them then yes they can be frozen. Freeze in a freezer safe container, with parchment paper between the layers. They should last up to 2 months in the freezer. Hope that helps.
Lisa Lave says
Can you add orange zest to the filling?
Hi Lisa, sure if you want to. Mix it in with the ricotta. Let me know how it goes.
Love this recipe. I haven’t tried it yet but looking forward to. My question is. Have you baked them and if so, are they just as good as fried. Also, couldn’t you substitute a sausage flling or anything, for that matter?
Hi Joanie, I have made them both ways and they are both good, fried is probably a bit better. If making savory I would probably use less sugar in the dough, maybe a tablespoon instead of 3. Let me know how it goes. Take care.
This looks so delicious yet easy to make. Can’t wait to try it.
Is there anything that can be done with the liquid that drains off the ricotta cheese? I have mine draining and can’t wait to make them tomorrow! But then I got to wondering if there was something I could use it for instead of tossing it. My first thought was maybe in some bread dough?
Hi Monica, good question apparently in bread dough is a great idea also I read, focaccia or pizza dough. Hope this helps and if you do try it let me know how it is. Have a great week.
Joan Cauchi says
I would love to try them but since I hate frying I will bake them thanks for your great receipes. I love Italian cooking
Hi Joan, thanks so much, I hope you enjoy them. Have a great week.
I live near Italy in Slovenija, country of your first lady and most important basketball player Luka Dončić. Fef days ago I found yours recipies. I’m thankful! I will made all! I like Italian food, specially delighs. In Slovenija we make POTICA. Now every day,in past,only for special days in year.
From today you have very happy baking friend from Slovenja.
Ps. Eksist similar Bosnian recepy, oil change with grease. It’s also very good. In Bosnia doesn’t have olive threes,that have grease.
Hi Nives, thanks so much, let me know what you try and how you like it. And I am so glad to have a follower from Slovenija, welcome.
Having eaten this in Sicily, I am delighted to find a recipe. These are probably my top pastry from there. Eaten warm when the chocolate is melting a bit is the best. Thank you.
Hi Ellen, your welcome, I hope you enjoy them. Have a great week.
nancy k says
Could you please suggest baking instructions…oven temp and time?
Thanks. There look delicious but I just don’t fry foods.
Hi Nancy, sorry about that, I meant to write it in and then I forgot, pre-heated oven 350F (180C) 20-25 minutes or until golden.