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A Sicilian Easter Brunch

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Photo credit: Becca Clara Love

The very first friend I made in college (literally, I flew up to Missouri and plunked myself in a chair at orientation next to this chick) turned out to be one of the closest friends in my life. We ended up living next door to one another in the dorms. And then sharing an apartment in college. And now we’re in next-door buildings in DC. I kid you not.

Not that we’re attached at the hip. It just kind of worked out that way.

One of the reasons I adore her (and there are many) is her passion for all things gourmet and delicious. It’s in her genes: Her dad is a chef. A Sicilian chef. Need I say more?

This foodie friend of mine and her phenomenally talented dad (who happened to be in town for Easter weekend) treated a group of us to a spectacular homemade Easter brunch on Sunday. Here’s how it spread: fresh vegetables and hummus, bread, salmon and delicious homemade horseradish for appetizers. Ham, potato casserole, frittata and a delightful homemade vegetarian quiche for the main course. Parfait with fresh berries and granola to cleanse the palate. Top all that off with your choice of bloody Mary or mimosa, and I think we’re in business, Easter Bunny.

Photo credit: Becca Clara Love

But the crème de la crème was the dessert. Taken from an old family recipe, the Sicilian Cassata Cake was sponge-cakey sweet and light. But taste can be deceiving with the Cassata. It’s loaded with ricotta cheese, sugar, jelly and spiked with yummy rum. An indulgence not to be missed. (It’s a holiday, right?).

Photo credit: Becca Clara Love

And here is the family recipe ….

Ingredients
1 pre-baked angel food cake
crushed pineapple
marachino cherries
mini chocolate chips
32 oz ricotta cheese
confectionary sugar
rum

Instructions
1. small dice cherries and pat dry
2. completely drain crushed pineapple
3. mix 1/2 cup rum with reserved pineapple and cherry juice
4. slice cake horizontally into thirds
5. brush each layer with rum and juice
6. mix ricotta with drained pineapple, cherries and mini chocolate chips (amt – own preference)
7. spread mixture on each layer, assemble and frost entire cake
8. refrigerate until ready to serve

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