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1 fresh pound cake about 9 inches long and about 3 in. wide
1 lb. ricotta cheese
2 T heavy cream
1/4 C sugar
3 T Strega or other orange liqueur
3 T coarsely chopped mixed candied fruit
2 oz semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

12 oz semisweet chocolate, cut in small pieces
3/4 C strong black coffee
1/2 lb unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in. pieces and thoroughly chilled

With a sharp, serrated knife, slice the end crusts off the pound
cake and level the top if it is rounded. Cut the cake horizontally
into 1/2 to 3/4 in. thick slabs. Rub the ricotta through a food
mill or a coarse sieve and a wooden spoon, beat with a rotary or
electric beater until smooth. Beating constantly, add the cream,
sugar and strega. With a rubber spatula, fold in the candied fruit
and chocolate. Center the bottom slab of the cake on a flat plate
or platter and spread generously with the ricotta mixture . Place
another slab on top, keep sides and ends even, and spread with more
ricotta. Repeat until all cake slabs are reassembled and the filling
has been used up. End with a plain slice of cake ontop. Gently
press the loaf to make it compact. Do not worry if it feels wobbly;
chilling firms it. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until ricotta is

Melt 12 oz of chocolate with the coffee in a small heavy saucepan
over low heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate has completely
dissolved. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter, 1 piece at
a time. Beat until the mixture is smooth, and chill until thickened
to spreading consistency. With a metal spatula, spread the frosting
evenly on the top, sides and ends of the cassata. Decorate with
remaining frosting. Cover loosely with plastic or foil and refrigerate
the cassata for at least a day before serving.

It is possible to use ganache instead if you want to.


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