Italian Easter Cassata

Sunday, March 12, 2017
Cassata is an Easter Italian Cheesecake. This is my mom's recipe the late Margaret Ann Fanelli Colenzo. You're in for a real traditional Italian creamy ricotta filled cheesecake that is bursting with cherries and chocolate!

This is an Italian cheesecake made with cherries, shaved chocolate, ricotta cheese in a pastry crust made at Easter

She made several of these every year, and it would go so fast. A classic traditional cheesecake Italians make every year at Easter with ricotta cheese, fruits and chocolate.

I have cut the recipe in half for years, now the family is growing and I make the whole recipe! Mom would be proud. This is a very close duplicate of her eagerly awaited cheesecake from everyone every Easter. It's hard to carry on tradition without her but she is her guiding me through it every year in spirit.

The chocolate and cherries are the perfect combination of flavors in this cassata cheesecake. It's creamy but now overly sweet. The cheesecake is very rich and you only need a little piece. I usually make two good size ones and freeze one for another time. It sure is a treat and well worth the wait to enjoy every Easter. I will always carry on her tradition.

This is an Italian cheesecake made with cherries, shaved chocolate, ricotta cheese in a pastry crust

This is an Italian cheesecake made with cherries, shaved chocolate, ricotta cheese in a pastry crust made at Easter

This is an Italian cheesecake made with cherries, shaved chocolate, ricotta cheese in a pastry crust made at Easter

Thanks to mom's teachings, we can all enjoy her delicious Italian cheesecake.
 A moist delicious very different from the cheesecake made with cream cheese.

This is an Italian cheesecake made with cherries, shaved chocolate, ricotta cheese in a pastry crust made at Easter

Italian Easter Cassata


Italian Cassata (cheesecake)Recipe
12 eggs
1 - 1/2 cups sugar
3- lbs of whole milk Ricotta
1- 8oz chocolate bar grated( she always used milk chocolate Hersheys)
8- oz citron (mom always used this it's optional) I prefer this without it
1 small bottle of maraschino cherries chopped in chunky pieces blotted dry
2 tablespoon pure vanilla

Mix eggs for four or five minutes, add sugar and vanilla, mix well until light in color. In a separate bowl beat ricotta for a few minutes, then add chocolate mixing well. Add this mixture to the eggs mixture and fold in chopped cherries and citron. Line a deep dish pan with dough. Pour in ricotta filling.  Bake at 325 for 2 1/2 hours. If tops begin to brown too quickly drop oven temperature to 300 foil wrap around the edges to keep from cooking further.

Crust: double the recipe for a thicker dough
2 - 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
1 stick of butter (1/4 pound)
3/4 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
Mix everything together, dough will be very soft, you will need to keep adding additional flour so it doesn't stick while rolling. Roll out to fit tins to fit for the bottom. Use remaining dough to make strips like tic tac toe effect on top. Brush with beaten egg wash for shiny top.
Note: I half this recipe for the filling.  I like a thick crust so I double the crust recipe. I use that whole recipe and makes two square around 10 x 10. If you like a thick crust you have to make a double batch of dough for the whole filling recipe.

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  1. What a wonderful recipe to have from your mom! I know my family would love this..I'm a little intimidated though, I'm not good with crust. I wish I had time to make it for Easter but I'm already trying to make the Easter bread and that's hard enough for me! :) I will hold on to this and try to make it for my next family gathering. Enjoy your cheesecake this weekend!!!

  2. This sounds lovely!
    Family recipes are always the best!

  3. Ahhhhh yes!!This looks VERY familiar. You forgot to mention how lovely it smells when it's baking. This tastes and smells like every Italian grandmother's Easter kitchen!

  4. Nothing like tradition during a holiday. I bet this cheesecake tastes great. I'm making a cheesecake for my family this weekend. Have a wonderful Easter!

  5. hello I love ricotta and love to ccok it !! Cheers from paris PIerre

  6. I love recipes that are handed down through families. We are all so lucky to have you share this with us! Happy Easter Claudia!

  7. This is a wonderful recipe made all the more special because it is from your Mum.

    I have a friend from Sicily who makes a similar recipe for it is wonderful to have this recipe.

    I am so glad to you visited my blog and commented on my Pastiera di Grana from Campania.


    I'll be back for more of your lovely recipes.

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  8. Aww, that's so great to have wonderful recipes from your mom. I bet she was an amazing woman. (Well, she had you didn't she?)

  9. Happy Easter Claudia!
    The recipe of your mom is wonderful, I like it, especially the addition of chocolate!

  10. What a great family recipe! Must be your favourite recipe. Looks fantastic! Happy Easter Day to you & your family!
    Blessing, Kristy

  11. Thereare never enough ricotta cheesecake recipes. I will try every one that comes my way. This looks beautiful, Claudia. Buona Pasqua!

  12. Ooh that looks so delicious! What a beautiful creation!

  13. So beautiful with the lattice crust...and a nice memory of your dear mother with every bite. Happy Easter, Claudia!

  14. It's such a treasure to carry on your mom's recipes and to share it with friends...because only a friend would share something this special to their heart and Claudia, you've been doing that all along:D
    Your traditional, beautiful Easter Cassata reminds me of the Alla Cassata Siciliana which I have not made in a long time, but it has the same filling, but made in a round cheesecake form.

    Thank you for sharing your sweet mom's recipe.

    Buona Pasqua, e che desiderano il meglio per questa bella giornata
    tua amica,

  15. Always wonderful to have a special recipe from Mom :) This sounds so wonderful. Happy Easter!

  16. Your mom's recipe is AMAZING! Happy Easter!!!

  17. I love the simplicity in making this but it is so flavourful! Is that really a half recipe you posted? I think I will tuck this one away for the next potluck!

  18. I just halved the recipe posted...and made two alterations...first of all "Citron"is boiled lemon peel...but...wasn't sure why it notes the amount in I was thinking citron as in lemon flavored vodka??? anyway, I substituted lemoncello liquor (2 oz) with a spalsh of citron...and then I also added lemon zest to the crust... also I was able to pour the mixture into a 9" springform pan with halving the crust recipe as well and pressing into the bottom of the pan, partially up the sides (did not have extra to lay in sections across the top) smells so good!! I did have to reduce the oven temp to 300 after 1.5 hours and covered the top with foil to continue looks so wonderful. This recipe is a bit different from my Sicilian grandmother's recipe, but thought it sounded so good and perfect to try for this Easter. I will update with final results once sampled. Thank you for sharing!!


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