Sweet ravioli with ricotta, or Sicilian ‘cassatelle‘, originate from western Sicily. They are most commonly prepared during the months prior to Easter, for Carnivale. Although, today you can find these sweet offerings all year and all over Italy.
This traditional recipe for sweet ravioli, has a filling of ricotta and chocolate chips, However, they are often flavored with lemon, chickpea, cinnamon or soft candies. The dough incorporates the sweet, subtle flavor of Marsala and is not difficult to prepare.
With a little practice, the technique of forming the ravioli will come very naturally to you. You will need to remove as much excess air as possible, seal them well to avoid them opening while frying. Although, this will not be the end of the world!
Your sweet ravioli with ricotta will last for 3 – 4 days at room temperature.
Sweet ravioli with chocolate and ricotta, also known as 'Sicilian cassatelle', are traditionally made during Carnevale, in the days leading up to Easter. This is the fried version, which is the most popular. However, you can also bake them.
- 300 g Tipo 00 flour
- 30 mls Marsala or sweet wine, or Passito from Pantelleria (optional)
- 30 g butter (at room temperature)
- 50 g sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- 1 pinch vanilla powder or natural extract
- 1 egg white (for sealing)
For the filling
- 300 g ricotta (drained)
- 100 g confectioners sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- 30 g dark chocolate chips
For cooking and presentation
- peanut oil (or other vegetable oil) (for cooking)
- confectioners sugar (for dusting)
For the pastry
In a mixing bowl, add the flour and the eggs. Beat the eggs with a fork, incorporating some of flour to begin forming a batter. then add the granulated sugar, butter and salt. Start kneading and, when you obtain a coarse dough, add the Marsala (or milk as an alternative. Knead for up to 10 minutes, to a soft dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest in somewhere cool (not the fridge), for at least an hour. If you want, you can also prepare the dough with one day in advance, and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the filling
In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta with the powdered sugar, and orange zest until creamy and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover and store the filling of ricotta cheese in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Construct your sweet ravioli
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Work each one separately. Roll out the dough on well floured work surface, as thin as you can. Use a round pastry ring, make discs of 8-10 centimeters in diameter. Add a tablespoon of filling in the center of each disc. Moisten the edges with egg white and fold the dough over the filling to create a crescent. Try to remove any excess air, then seal the edges, using the tines of a fork.
Fry the sweet ravioli in plenty of peanut oil, at a temperature of 160 C/320 F degrees, until they are lightly browned on both sides and will float on the surface. Dry them on paper towel to remove the excess oil.
When they are just warm, liberally with confectioners sugar and serve warm. a few minutes so you do lose the excess oil.
Serve warm or cold.