Cassatelle di Agira recipes, typical sicily almond cookies

Agira is a small town near Enna, famous for these little pastries. The rich filling of almond, cocoa powder, lemon zest is held together by the chickpea flour, a poor ingredient used in this recipe as a thickner.

The dought must be rolled in a thin layer, in order to taste the richness of the filling.

“cassatelle” are prepared on happy times, as edible gifts.

You can put them in airtight container for several days, the taste is always better and better, and they are just perfect with an espresso.


Pastry dough

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


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

a couple of spoons of full fat milk

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 dough with cling film and leave to rest for 1 hour

For the filling put all the ingredients, except the chickpea flour in 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 mezzaluna or turnover (make sure that all the edges are well-sealed)

Brush with milk 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.