Beautiful Cassata Siciliano from Caffe Sicilia
Pecorelle di Pasqua are a traditional Sicilian Easter treat although, when Easter falls very close to Saint Joseph’s Day as it did this year, Maria shared that the Lambs of Easter are often found on Saint Joseph altars. Maria’s are so charming I am planning to purchase several to Not eat but to decorate our Easter table. They are very reasonably priced, especially considering all the work that is involved with making and how expensive is the marzapane.
Each lamb is molded from almond dough and after drying, skillfully hand painted by Maria. I popped into Caffe Sicilia Wednesday morning to say hello and happily caught Maria just as she was beginning to paint and decorate the Easter lambs. We filmed her working with my movie camera for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project and here is a glimpse with iPhone photos and Instagrams.
With thanks, appreciation, and the deepest gratitude to Maria Cracchiolo and her parents Nina and Domenic Damico for their continued help with Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. From the project’s onset, they have opened their kitchen doors and very generously shared Sicilian traditions and baking techniques. We are so very fortunate to have Maria, her family, and Caffe Sicilia in our Gloucester Community. With thanks again to Mayor Sefatia for suggesting we knock on Maria’s door!
Happy Spring! Happy Easter!
Beginning in the early 1900s, the American Father’s Day was brought to Italy, a sort of reverse sharing of holidays! Fittingly, in Italy, Father’s Day is celebrated on Saint Joseph’s Day.
This year the Groppo’s are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Saint Joseph honoring Nina’ s mother, Di Gaetano Vincenza. Tomorrow night, Thursday, the nine day novena begins and all are most sincerely welcome at the home of Nina and Frank Groppo.
Caffe Sicilia’s Maria Cracchiolo is returning from vacation on Saturday and special orders for her beautiful bread can be placed then. You can see a demonstration of how she expertly shapes the Saint Joseph altar bread here.
Fabulous and delicious cake made by Maria for my in-laws 65th wedding anniversary. Needless to say it was huge hit, with layers of raspberry and lemon cream sandwiched between creamy sweet frosting. Stop in to Caffe Sicilia for your Saint Peter’s Day cakes and confections. See Maria featured on the front page of today’s Gloucester Daily Times!
Photo Courtesy Esther Mathieu
During this year’s round of filming for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project, I had the wonderful good fortune to stop at Caffe Sicilia just as Maria Cracchiolo was about to decorate her signature Cassata Siciliana.
It was the morning of Saint Joseph Day and as you can imagine, Caffe Sicilia was bustling to fill the day’s special orders of delicious Sicilian pastries and altar breads. Nevertheless, I asked Maria if she would mind if I filmed her while she decorated the cake. No, not all, she graciously allowed. Maria is so deft at cake making that it took her only minutes to create this masterpiece. It’s all been captured for our film project! The Vine below gives a tiny glimpse of Maria’s artistry.
Cassata Siciliana is also traditionally served at Easter time. What a gorgeous gift Caffe Sicilia’s cassata would make to share at your family’s Easter celebration, which as you may know is coming up very soon, in less than two weeks, on Sunday, April 5th. Believe me when I write, Maria’s Cassata Siciliaina tastes as good as it looks–divine, actually! A partial list of the ingredients includes sponge cake, ricotta, liquor, marzipan, royal icing, and candied fruit.
Special orders may be placed by calling Caffe Sicilia at 978-283-7345.