Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Frangelico Zuccotto with Chocolate & Vanilla Hazelnut Ricotta

I keep trying to best myself in desserts and sweets, whether it be those that i cook for family or friends. The peak of that mountain to me at the moment is Macaroons, which i am yet to get the hang of. In the meantime, i have stumbled across recipes for Zuccotto, which is a very impressive dish, though deceptively simple to make.

A distinctly Italian dessert with it's origins in Florence, rich, creamy zuccotto, much like say a cheesecake, can be twisted into countless variations for personal taste. Vanilla zuccotto, orange zuccotto, even icecream zuccotto have made their appearances. But how can a hazelnut lover like me possibly go past the irresistable notion of a hazelnut riddled filling, and a cakey outside literally basted in frangelico! I have taken the basic recipe by Emma Knowles and twisted it a bit to my tastes. Fellow hazelnut lovers, enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves 12)


  • 120gm plain flour
  • 30gm cocoa plus extra for dusting
  • 6 eggs
  • 180gm sugar
  • 80gm butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup frangelico

Vanilla & Candied Hazelnut Ricotta

  • 500gm ricotta
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100gm icing sugar

Chocolate Ricotta

  • 180gm dark chocolate
  • 500gm ricotta
  • 50gm icing sugar



Preheat oven to 160 degrees
Sift cocoa and flour into a bowl and set aside

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a double boiler until thick and light in colour

Fold in the flour/cocoa mixture in 2 batches

Spread into 2 30cm circles on 2 lined baking trays (i cheated and poured half of the mixture each into 2 springform tin rims without the base, then took away the base)

Transfer to oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed

Leave on trays to cool

Vanilla & Candied Hazelnut RicottaCoarsely chop the hazelnuts and transfer to a small saucepan with 1/2 of the icing sugar
Heat over medium heat until sugar melts and begins to caramelise.

Transfer to a bowl to cool

Meanwhile place the ricotta, vanilla and remaining sugar in a food processor and mix until smooth

Stir through the cooled hazelnuts and refrigerate until needed

Chocolate Ricotta

Chop the chocolate and place over a double boiler

Stir until melted and remove from heat
Place ricotta and icing sugar in food processor and mix until smooth.
Pour in the melted chocolate and mix further until smooth

Refrigerate until needed


Take a 1.75L pudding mold and place some strips of baking paper across it in a cross (these will act as handles to lever the cake out of the mold)

Cut a circle out of one of the cakes big enough to cover the base of the mold and place in the mold.

Cut wedges of the same piece of cake to run up the sides of the cake mold ensuring there are no gaps

Baste the cake that is in the mold generously with Frangelico

Take the hazelnut ricotta and place inside of the mould
Smooth the ricotta around the sides of the cake, leaving a hollow in the middle

Place the chocolate ricotta in the hollow creating inside of the hazelnut ricotta and smooth out

Take the other cake and place over the top of the mold, trimming the edges
Press the cake into the mold so that it sits just inside the lip of the mold
Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or until ready to serve
When ready to serve overturn the zuccotto onto a plate and dust with cocoa.

Serve cold.

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