Italy produces some of the world’s most beloved desserts. Crafted with simple but decadent ingredients, this treat is truly irresistible.
Cassata is typically served at Italian weddings, offering a heavenly cherry brandy-spiked ricotta and cream cheese filling flecked with almonds and dried cherries.
Makes: 12 servings Prep: 45 mins Chill: 6 mins Cool: 1 hr 30 mins Bake: 350°F, 35 – 40 mins
- 1 - 10 3/4 ounce loaf frozen pound cake, thawed
- 3 tablespoons kirsch (cherry brandy)*
- 2 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 - 5 ounce bar milk chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 2/3 cup dried tart cherries, snipped
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, cut pound cake into ten 1/2-inch slices. Drizzle slices with kirsch. Arrange some of the cake around side of a 9-inch springform pan. Arrange remaining cake on bottom of pan, cutting to fit; set aside.
- For filling, in a large bowl combine cream cheese, ricotta cheese, the 3/4 cup sugar, and flour. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs; beat just until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chopped chocolate pieces, 1/3 cup of the almonds, and the dried cherries. Pour into cake-lined pan, spreading evenly.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a 1-1/2-inch area around outside edge appears set and center appears nearly set when gently shaken. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Using a knife, loosen edge of torte from side of pan. Remove side of pan; cool on rack for 1 hour. Cover loosely and chill for 6 to 24 hours.
- To serve, in a medium microwave-safe bowl microwave 1/3 cup of the cream, uncovered, on 100-percent power (high) for 30 to 60 seconds or until bubbly. Stir in remaining chocolate until melted. Spoon over top of cake. Sprinkle with remaining almonds.
Tip: If you prefer, substitute a mixture of 2 tablespoons melted strawberry jam and 1 tablespoon vanilla for the kirsch.