Hello! Guess who? It is I, Gab from Artful Desperado with another recipe full of decadence and lust. This is the equivalent of making love in the kitchen except you can serve it to your guests (not judging anyone here).
Have you ever tried Zuccotto? No? OK—let me give you the lowdown on this. Zuccotto is an Italian semi-frozen dessert, similar to a tiramisu, but in the shape of a dome. It’s quite old school and it’s not super popular anymore (I think it has been filed under “this goes with ambrosia salad,” poor thing). I think it’s time to revive it! Especially for especial occasions that call for lots of love and food, but not without a little bit of an update.
Zuccotto usually has booze, vanilla whipped cream, and maybe some berries. For this recipe I skipped the booze (though, by all means, you can add it back in), and I added some honey, lemon zest, and crushed roasted hazelnuts all folded into ricotta cheese. Oh, yes. I also skipped making intricate designs with the bread and just went for something easier to cut (you’ll see what I’m talking about in a minute).
So, dim the lights, put your comfy/sexy clothes on, and let’s make a sex bomb, a.k.a. Zuccotto! Oh, mama mia!
Honey, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Ganache Zuccotto
Makes one 8 inch-ish zuccotto
2 brioche loaves OR 2 panettones (you can use either or)
1 cup ricotta cheese
½ cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
¼ cup + 1 tbsp honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1 pinch of salt
½ cup whipping cream (for filling)
½ cup whipping cream (for ganache)
½ cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp instant coffee
1. Grab a bowl (that will be the shape of your zuccotto, so choose one that’s kinda dome-shaped), and cover the inside with plastic wrap. Cut the bread into 1 inch slices, then cut them in thirds. Layer the thirds on top of the plastic wrap (this will be the outside of your zuccotto). Make sure to arrange them tight and go all the way to the rim of the bowl. Cut smaller cubes to fill in any gaps.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, hazelnuts, honey, vanilla, lemon, and salt and combine. On a different bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks, then fold it into the ricotta and hazelnut mix. Taste for sweetness (you can add more honey or maple syrup if needed). Keep in mind the bread is already sweet.
3. Scoop about half of the ricotta and whipped cream mix into the bread bowl. Now layer more bread on top of the cream to create separation. Add the rest of the cream and add the final layer (the bottom of your cake) of cut bread. Again, use small cubes if needed to avoid leaving huge gaps. Place a plate on top of the zuccotto and refrigerate overnight.
4. Once the zuccotto has rested in the fridge, it’s time to bathe it in chocolate! Grab the whipping cream for the ganache, the chocolate chips, and instant coffee and put it on a double boiler (a bowl on a pot over barely simmering water). Let the chocolate melt and then stir to combine. Remove from the heat and stir for another 2 minutes to temper the chocolate.
5. Unmold the zuccotto onto a plate (flip it onto a plate, like a flan), and pour the warm ganache all over it, working quickly, spread the ganache all over the zuccotto. Top with more ground hazelnuts and put it back in the fridge.
Serve directly from the fridge OR if you like it a bit more like an ice cream cake, place it in the freezer for 30 min before serving.
Enjoy this classic! Bon Appetit!