Cassatelle di Agira – Sicilian stuffed pastries

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These delicious little pastries are a favourite of Italian food blogger Antonella la Macchia and a fantastic alternative to mince pies. The shortcrust pastry is stuffed with a festive fragrant filling of cocoa, cinnamon, almond and lemon and orange zest, then baked in the oven until crisp and golden

First published in 2015

Agira is a small village near Enna that is famous for these sweet pastries. Please try this recipe, you will fall in love with them. The sweetness of the almonds, the richness of the chocolate and the cinnamon are perfect for this time of year.




Pastry dough

  • 600g of plain flour
  • 200g of sugar
  • 250g of suet, or butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp of water

Pastry filling

  • 300g of almonds
  • 250g of sugar
  • 370ml of water
  • 60g of cocoa powder
  • 30g of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 orange, zest only, grated
  • 1 lemon, zest only, grated
  • 40g of chickpea flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • icing sugar


Begin by making the dough. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, suet, egg and a couple of tablespoons of water (add more if the dough is dry), until you obtain a smooth dough. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest for 1 hour
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Add all the ingredients (except the chickpea flour) to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the chickpea flour and stir with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps. Cook the mixture until thick enough to hold a wooden spoon vertically when stuck in the middle of the pan
Preheat the oven at 170°C/gas mark 3.5
Roll the dough into thin sheet and cut into rounds with a 8.5cm pastry cutter. Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of each pastry round and fold like a little empanada or turnover (make sure that all the edges are well-sealed)
Brush with extra virgin olive oil and transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper
Cook for 25 minutes, then allow to cool for 15 minutes or so. Dust with icing sugar and serve

Discover more about this region's cuisine:

Having previously worked in tourism, Antonella la Macchia decided to turn her passion for food into her career, and is now a food blogger, personal chef and cooking teacher based in Tuscany.

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