Cassatella di Sant'Agata
Casatella are a Sicilian delicacy inspired by the martyrdom of Saint Agatha. These beautiful, almond flavoured sweets are a reference to Agatha's breasts, which she is traditionally depicted as carrying on a platter before her. The story goes that Agatha had her chest amputated as punishment for disagreeing to marry an local nobleman who was taken by her beauty - she wanted to lead a holy and solitary life of contemplation.
This painting by Francisco de Zurbarán shows her whole again, in heaven, her breasts before her, and is part of the inspiration of this round, green sweet.
As has been pointed out before, the dessert is a perfect combination of all of Sicily's most famous and special ingredients: almonds, pistachios, and citrus fruits.
To craft one yourself simply:
- Make an almond marzipan and roll it out into a sheet about 1cm thick
- Make an Italian sponge cake batter and mix for at least 20 minutes before adding flour to ensure lightness
- Get some excellent quality ricotta, and add a little sugar and fruit seasoning.
- Layer the ingredients in order, upside down, in a rounded mould. Top with a cherry!
Many extra useful tips are available at the Sicilian Simplicity page, linked here.