Sunday, September 20, 2009

La Cucina Zuccotto Recipe Redux

Zuccotto is an Italian dessert with origins in Florence. Our popular version of Zuccotto is a dome-shaped, semi-fredda, made with liqueur-soaked vanilla sponge cake and a trio of flavoured whipped creams.Zuccotto can be kept frozen, then thawed before serving.The shape is said to have been inspired by it's resemblance to Florence's Duomo. Others allude to its shape as closely resembling a cardinal's skullcap. This delicious Tuscan-inspired bombe was a signature dessert at my former restaurant, La Cucina, on King Street in London Ontario in the early 1990's.

Another variation of Zuccotto is made with layers of homemade ice cream and is known as a Bombe glacée or simply a Bombe in English. Escoffier gives over sixty recipes for bombes prepared in spherical moulds in Le Guide culinaire. Variations of the bombe have appeared on restaurant menus since 1882.


Vanilla Sponge Cake (recipe below) and bake in a 13"X9"X2" pan. Cool. Cut into strips 13" X 1-1/4". Line 2-1/2-3Qt. mixing bowl with plastic film. This helps the frozen Zuccotto release from the bowl when frozen.

Vanilla Sponge Cake


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 6 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
flour and unsalted butter for pans

Method for Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of one 11-by-17 rimmed baking sheet,line with parchment paper and butter again. Flour the pan and set aside. In a small bowl, sift flour and cornstarch together; set aside. In a bowl, beat egg yolks, vanilla, and sugar on high until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Wash and dry mixer attachments. In another bowl, combine egg whites and salt; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. With mixer running, slowly add the remaining 6 tbsp of sugar. Continue beating until stiff and glossy, about 1 minute. Fold egg-white mixture into egg-yolk mixture. In three additions, add the reserved flour mixture to the egg mixture. Transfer two-thirds of the batter to the baking sheet, and the remaining one-third to the round pan. Smooth the top of the batter with a spatula. Bake until light golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, approximately 20 minutes.
Transfer the cake pan to a wire rack to cool; turn out the cakes, remove the parchment paper, and wrap in plastic until ready to use. The cake can be made ahead, cooled, and frozen for up to two weeks.

Sugar Syrup

1/2 cup (60 grams)granulated sugar
1/2 cup (118 mls)water
1 cup (237 mls)sherry

Mix the above together until sugar is dissolved. Line bowl with strips of cake then spoon syrup mixture over the cake. Reserve enough syrup for final cake layer.


4 cups (946 mL)35% whipping cream
3/4 cup (85 grams)icing sugar - sifted
1/2 cup (118 mL)orange liqueur
10 oz. pkg frozen raspberries -thawed & drained
3 tbsp(15 mL)brandy
3 tbsp (20 grams)unsweetened cocoa
3 tbsp (15 mL) hazelnuts - chopped
3 tbsp (15 mL) candied orange peel,finely chopped


Combine 1/3 whipping cream and 1/3 powdered sugar and 1/2 orange liqueur. Beat until soft peaks form. Fold in drained raspberries. Spread evenly over cake in bowl.

Combine 1/3 whipping cream, 1/3 powdered sugar and brandy. Beat until soft peaks form. Fold in cocoa and chopped hazelnuts.
Spread evenly over raspberry layer.

Combine remaining whipping cream, powdered sugar and orange liqueur. Beat until soft peaks form. Fold in candied orange peel.
Spread evenly over chocolate layer.

Dip remaining cake strips into syrup, cover entire top of Zuccotto with cake, trimming as necessary to fit.

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