Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate & Ricotta Cassatelle

Cassatelle are traditional Sicilian half-moon pastries filled with chocolate and ricotta. Although it’s possible to bake the pastries, deep-frying them is more authentic.

Serves: 12
Difficulty: Challenging
Hands-On Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Baking Time: 15 mins
  • Ingredients
  • Method
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Step 1
Make the filling. Tip the ricotta into the centre of the muslin. Gather the corners together and use the string to tie a knot just above the ricotta. Then, tie the string to the handle of a wooden spoon and suspend the ricotta over a bowl to catch any liquid. Leave to drain while you make the dough.

Step 2
Using your fingertips, combine the flour, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl, then make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, oil, lemon juice and Marsala.

Step 3
Pour the wet mixture into the well in the dry ingredients and bring together. Add enough water to make a stiff, pliable dough (you’ll need about 1–3 tablespoons).

Step 4
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, until smooth and silky. Divide the dough into 4 equal balls, flatten each one slightly, then wrap in cling film. Chill for 20 minutes.

Step 5
Lightly squeeze the ball of ricotta to release any excess moisture, then pass the ricotta through a fine sieve three times, until smooth and creamy. Stir in the icing sugar, orange zest and chocolate chips. Cover the mixture and chill until ready to use.

Step 6
Flatten one ball of dough into a rough rectangle. Feed it twice or three times through the pasta machine on the widest setting, until smooth. Then, reducing by one setting each time, feed the dough rectangle through the thinner settings, until you reach a medium thickness.

Step 7
Lay out the rolled dough on a lightly floured surface and using the 10cm round cutter, cut out 3 rounds. Place a spoonful of the ricotta mixture just off centre in the round, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Brush the edge of the round with water, then fold the dough over the filling to create a half moon. Press the edges to seal, then use a fork to crimp. Place on the lined baking sheets, then repeat with remaining dough and filling to make 12 cassatelles altogether. Chill for 20 minutes.

Step 8
Heat the deep-fat fryer to 170°C/338°F. Cook the cassatelle in batches for 3–5 minutes per batch, turning the half-way through cooking, until cooked through and golden. Lift each batch out of the oil and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Repeat until you’ve cooked all the cassatelle. Allow to cool, then dust with icing sugar before serving.