When you thing about Sicilian sweets you realize that they are different from those you find in mainland Italy. Adorned with candied fruit, flavoured with nuts and enriched with sheep's milk ricotta. Saracen invaders from North Africa had influence on these sweets. The Saracens introduced pistachios, oranges, lemons, candied fruits, dates as well as refined sugar and spices such as cinnamon and cloves.
In Sicily every holiday has its own sweet, pastry fritters for Christmas, crunchy cookies called "Ossi dei morti" for All Soul's Day.
Sicilian sweets can be also tasted in Rome. Across the city there are numerous pasty shops that sells Sicilian desserts and other sweet treats. Find out here about the best pasticceria where to taste Sicilian sweets in Rome.
One of the most popular desserts originated from Sicily are cannoli. These delicious dessert is made of crispy fried pastry shell filled with ricotta cream which can be plain or flavoured with chocolate bits or candied fruits inside. The cream can be also flavoured so you can find cannolo with pistachio, almond, chocolate or lemon cream.
These creamy Sicilian dessert can be found in the cake shops throughout the Italy. No Sicilian bakery will serve you a cannolo already filled, instead, the ricotta is made daily and piped into the crispy tube when you order, along with your choice of candied fruit, chopped pistachios or chocolate bits.
Cassata Siciliana is a cake consisting of round sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueur and layered with sweetened ricotta cheese (sometimes mixed with candied fruit and chocolate bits).
It is covered with a shell of green-colored marzipan and icing. On the top usually comes candied fruits and slices of citrus. Cassata can also refer to a flavour of gelato inspired by the cake, giving you another way to taste this traditional sweet.
This attractive dessert made of similar ingredients as cassata is very popular in Sicily. Small round sponge cake is covered with a ricotta cream (with added chocolate bits and orange peel) all covered with green marzipan and sugar icing.
On the top there is a candied cherry. This dessert is also very rich and sweet like most Sicilian desserts.
Biscotti di mandorle are cookies prepared with an almond paste. The recipe consists of almond paste, ground almonds, sugar bound with egg. In some you will find bits of chopped candied fruit and lemon or orange zest. The cookies are piped out and baked until crisp outside but still soft in the centre. These delicious cookies goes well with a tea, coffee or a glass of Marsala wine.
Another sweet pastry dessert comes from Sicily - from the western town of Erice, just north of Trapani. These amazing pastries are filled with lemon custard and covered in icing sugar. Genovesi are so delicious, soft and tasty, especially if eaten warm.
Frutta martorana are traditional marzipan sweets in the form of fruits and vegetables originated from the province of Palermo and Messina in Sicily. These impressive sweets were first made by nuns who decorated empty fruit trees with them to impress an archbishop visiting on All Saints Day. Frutta martorana is a common treat given to children on that day.
These interesting cookies are usually made for Day of the death. Their shape also remind of the bones. The texture of these cookies is similar to biscotti - chewy but bordering on hard. The texture and intense almond flavour of the ossi dei morti makes them perfect to dunk into coffee or tea.
Cassatelle are popular fried pastry from Sicily. There are many different variations of this sweet. Some are made of crunchy crust flavoured with Marsala wine and filled with tasty ricotta and chocolate filling and dusted with icing sugar. They are traditionally made with sheep milk ricotta but still delicious when made with cow ricotta. They are best eaten hot when the chocolate melts and the ricotta is creamy and velvety. Cassatelle di Agira are made without ricotta but still delicious.
Granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and different flavorings. It is one of the most popular sweets in Sicily, eaten throughout the day, starting from breakfast, as an afternoon treat and between meals. Cold granita makes you cool during high summer temperatures.
Granita can be flavoured with lemon, orange, mandarin, almonds, mint, strawberries and other berries. There is also a chocolate granita originated from Catania while coffee granita is common in Messina.
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