Recipe: Zuccotto pudding

An Italian zuccotto on a grey slate, with a portion cut out and a silver spoon, with raspberries next to it

Try your hand at making this delicious dessert - Credit: Richard Budd

Zuccotto is a rich decadent Italian pudding  I like to serve at Easter but is great all-year-round. Traditionally it's made in a domed mould, but as it translates to 'little pumpkin', I thought my ridged mould would still be fitting.

(Serves 8)

Ingredients

  • 1 Genoise sponge cake 23 cm-round (homemade or shop-bought)
  • 150ml Amaretto liqueur
  • 300ml double cream
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 25g toasted hazelnuts chopped
  • 25g toasted almonds chopped
  • 25g mixed peel
  • 25g dried cherries or cranberries
  • 25g sultanas
  • 150g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Seeds from one vanilla pod
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Zest of one orange
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Red berries for serving (optional)

READ MORE: Somerset cider cocktails

Method

  1. Soak the cherries/cranberries and the sultanas in 50ml of the Amaretto overnight.
  2. The following day line a 1.2-litre pudding basin with cling film (I used a fluted brioche mould here to get the nice ridges), leaving enough cling film hanging over the edges to fold over the top of the pudding and cover securely.
  3. Slice the Genoise cake horizontally into three layers, setting aside one layer, and then cut both of the remaining layers into eight triangular slices.
  4. Line the pudding basin with the cake slices, pointed ends first into the bottom of the basin. Make sure the whole basin is lined with the cake and there are no gaps, use any remaining cake to fill any spaces.
  5. Use 50ml of the Amaretto and brush the cake slices in the basin.
  6. In one bowl whip the cream until soft peaks form. In another bowl add the ricotta, mascarpone, vanilla seeds, lemon zest, orange zest, and icing sugar and whisk until smooth. Fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture.
  7. Add the soaked dried fruit, the chopped chocolate, hazelnuts, almonds, mixed peel, and gently fold through until evenly distributed. Then fill the cake lined basin with the ricotta mixture.
  8. Cover with the reserved round of sponge, trimming the edges to fit the basin. Brush with the remaining Amaretto, cover with the overhanging cling film, and refrigerate overnight with a weight on top
  9. When ready to serve, unwrap the cling film from the top of the bowl, carefully invert the pudding onto a serving plate, and dust with cocoa powder.
  10. Serve in slices. I like mine with fresh red berries.

Steve James is a personal chef and owner of stevejamesltd.com and Eastfield Farm.

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