Tuscan Zuccotto Dessert with Ricotta and Chocolate Recipe
This colorful and delicious Tuscan sponge cake dessert is filled with creamy ricotta, chocolate chips, cocoa powder and a dash of bright red Alchermes liqueur and is sure to impress your dinner guests with its regal round form and 400 years of history dating all the way back to Catherine de’ Medici.
To prepare the sponge cake, start by separating the yolks from the whites. Put the whites aside.
Put the yolks in a bowl together with the 150 grams of white sugar and whip them with an electric mixer or whisk until the mixture is fluffy and frothy. When ready, the mixture should fall slowly from the whisk and form peaks.
Add the boiling water, one spoonful at a time, while continuing to mix and finally also the vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour together with the potato starch and baking powder.
Now add the powder to the egg mixture one spoonful at a time, folding each spoonful gently into the whipped eggs with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Then add a pinch of salt.
Whip the egg whites with a whisk or hand mixer and then gently incorporate the egg whites, again folding them into the other mixture.
Line a 9 in | 24 cm springform cake pan with baking paper and pour the dough in.
Bake the cake for 30 minutes and then test to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick in the middle to see if it comes out dry.
Once done, remove from the oven and then remove from the pan and let cool completely.
Instructions for ricotta and chocolate filling
Drain the ricotta well and then strain it with a fine-mesh strainer to remove any excess liquid. The ricotta should be as dry as possible.
In a medium bowl, add the ricotta and the sugar and mix well to make a cream.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms peaks and is stiff.
Now add the cream to the ricotta a little at a time, folding it in and incorporating it gently.
Remove 1/3 of the ricotta cream mixture and place in a separate bowl and mix in the cocoa powder.
To the other ricotta mixture, add the chocolate chips and stir until uniform.
Instructions for preparing the zuccotto
Take the cooled sponge cake and remove the crust and then cut into long slices of about 0.5 in | 1 cm thick.
Take a zuccotto mold (or if you don’t have one, you can use a medium sized round metal mixing bowl) and line the bottom with tin foil. Arrange the sponge cake slices in the mold so that the entire mold is covered in a layer of cake.
Next, lightly wet the sponge cake with the Alchermes liqueur so that the sponge cake turns scarlet.
Fill the sponge cake dome first with a layer of ricotta cream and chocolate chip filling and then with a layer of ricotta and cocoa filling.
Create a sponge cake “cover” which will be the base when you flip out the dessert. Wet this layer of sponge cake with the remaining Alchermes.
Cover the cake with tin foil and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to let it cool and form to the mold.
After the cooling time has elapsed remove the first layer of tin foil and place the serving dish upside down over the mold. Now flip the zuccotto with the dish underneath so that it comes out directly onto the serving dish.
Remove any remaining tin foil from the top and sides gently and then dust lightly with unsweetened cocoa.