This is a small pasticceria in Polozzi Generosa, in the Madonie Mountains, not that far from Palermo. I have misplaced the photos of the pascal lambs I found in this shop, but they were beautiful.
These are Pascal lambs from Dolcetti. It will give you an idea of what I mean.
In Sicily, the traditional pascal lambs (agnellini pasquali) are made with marzipan, however I have found a recipe for making the lamb out of pasta garofolata (dough flavoured with cloves/ cloves are chiodi di garofano in Italian). This same dough is used to make ossa dei morti (bones of the dead, customary Nov1st/ 2nd, the day of the Dead/ All saints Day).
Here is another version from a different Pasticceria in Sicily.
For those of you who may wish to try making a pascal lamb (could be fun to make with children), here is the recipe from: Culinaria Italy, Claudia Piras, 2004:
NB. There are many recipes for making ossa dei morti; many use almond meal and egg white.
In Sicily, the dessert has to be cassata – not the Neapolitan one made with ice cream, but with ricotta, and Sicilians use sheep’s milk ricotta because they can.
Each time I make a cassata it always looks different, but they always taste good. on occasions I have even made made marzipan with pistachio nuts – a long process peeling off their skins!
I always cover the cassata with marzipan. See:
|A slice of cassata|
In pastry shops many cassate are covered with glassa (fondant):
There are many recipes where icing sugar is melted in water over a stove and then poured over the cassata – I find this too hard to work with and far too sweet. The following fondant is much easier to work with:
Beat 1 egg white till stiff, add 350 g of icing sugar (which has been infused with a vanilla bean). Add juice of one lemon and a few drops of green colouring. Beat till smooth. Spread over cassata. Many pasticcerie use white and green fondant.