Cassata spheres

Cassata is a traditional Sicilian dessert filled with sweetened ricotta cheese that is flecked with candied fruits and encased within a marzipan collar shaped using a special mould. Cristina Bowerman reinvents the classic Italian recipe, creating spheres of frozen cassata enrobed within crisp chocolate shells served on an almond foam. Although quite complex, the sponge and mousse spheres can be made in advance and glazed on the day of serving.

First published in 2016





  • 275g of eggs
  • 220g of egg yolks
  • 337g of sugar
  • 100g of butter, melted
  • 240g of 00 flour
  • 60g of potato flour


  • 120g of bourbon whiskey
  • 90g of sugar
  • 90g of water
  • 60g of lemon juice

Almond foam

Italian meringue

Ricotta mousse

White chocolate glaze

  • 350g of white chocolate
  • 100g of cocoa butter

To serve

  • 10g of edible sugar balls
  • silver leaf


  • Siphon bottle or cream whipper
  • Thermometer
  • 5cm pastry cutter
  • Food mixer with whisk attachment
  • Small hemisphere moulds
  • Toothpicks
  • Blender
  • 24cm square baking tin
  • Greaseproof paper


Begin with the almond foam, as this will need to soak overnight. Place the almonds and milk in a blender and blitz together until smooth. Transfer to a jug or bowl, cover and leave in the fridge overnight
To make the ricotta mousse, start with the Italian meringue. Place the sugar and water in a small pan over a medium heat to melt together to create a syrup. Meanwhile, add the egg whites to a food mixer fitted with a whisk attachment
When the sugar syrup reaches 118°C on a thermometer, begin to whisk the egg whites. As soon as the syrup reaches 121°C, remove from the heat and pour it into the egg mixture in a steady stream, continuing to whisk as the meringue forms and cools. Once cool, weigh out 200g and set aside until needed
To prepare the mousse, pass the ricotta through a sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the icing sugar, candied peel and chocolate pearls until evenly distributed
Warm the milk slightly over a low heat and stir in the gelatine to dissolve. Mix into the ricotta and gently fold through the 200g of reserved Italian meringue and the whipped cream. Transfer the mousse to a piping bag and place in the fridge for a few hours to set
  • 4g of gelatine, softened in cold water
  • 5g of milk
  • 250g of cream, whipped
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a 24cm square baking tin with baking paper
For the sponge cake, place the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a pan over a gentle heat. Whisking continuously, allow the mixture to come up to 45°C, stopping when pale and doubled in size. Remove from the heat and mix in the melted butter
Sift in both flours and fold together to create a smooth sponge mixture. Pour into the lined tin and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes. Once cooked, transfer the sponge to a wire rack to cool
  • 240g of 00 flour
  • 60g of potato flour
While the sponge is cooling, place all the syrup ingredients in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from the heat and leave to cool
  • 120g of bourbon whiskey
  • 60g of lemon juice
  • 90g of sugar
  • 90g of water
Once both sponge and syrup have cooled, brush the syrup over the top of the sponge, allowing it to soak in completely. Use a 5cm cutter to stamp out 10 circles of sponge and store these in the fridge until needed
Remove the chilled mousse from the fridge and fill 10 hemisphere moulds with it using the piping bag, then three-quarters fill the remaining 10 moulds. Place a circle of sponge over these moulds to fill them, then transfer to a freezer for a few hours until frozen solid
After this time, prepare the glaze by gently melting the white chocolate with the cocoa butter in a small pan. Then remove from the heat
  • 350g of white chocolate
  • 100g of cocoa butter
Remove the frozen mousse hemispheres from the moulds and push together to form a ball, making sure each one has a piece of sponge sandwiched in the middle
Insert a toothpick into the frozen spheres, and dunk them in the glaze for few seconds, twirling to coat fully. Place the glazed spheres on a tray and return to the fridge to allow the chocolate to set
Pass the soaked almond milk through a fine sieve to ensure it is completely smooth and transfer to the siphon gun, set with two charges. If you don’t have a siphon, use a hand blender to blitz up the milk to a foam just before serving
To serve, siphon a little almond milk into the centre of each dish and place the cassata sphere on top. Garnish with silver leaf and edible sugar balls
  • silver leaf
  • 10g of edible sugar balls

Cristina Bowerman is a multi-talented chef with a passion for travel and innovative cooking. Her creative plates are rooted in Italian tradition with international flair.

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