Tuscan zuccotto
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Tuscan Zuccotto

Course Dessert
Cuisine Tuscan
Servings 6
Author Giulia


Sponge cake

  • 6 eggs
  • 300 g of granulated sugar
  • 150 g of flour 00
  • 50 h of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt

Italian Meringue

  • 200 g + 50 g of granulated sugar
  • 50 g of water
  • 125 g of egg whites

Orange pastry cream

  • 1 egg
  • 50 g of sugar
  • 25 g of flour
  • 250 ml of milk
  • Orange peel

Orange pastry cream semifreddo

  • 135 g of Italian meringue
  • 100 g of orange pastry cream
  • 260 g of whipped cream

Cocoa semifreddo

  • 165 g of Italian meringue
  • 335 g of whipped cream
  • 75 g of unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder

Syrup to brush sponge cake

  • Alchermes
  • Water


Make the sponge cake

  • Preheat oven to 170°C.
  • Separate yolks and egg whites. Whip yolks and sugar with an electric mixer (traditional recipe would require a wooden spoon) until they are light, white and creamy.
  • Add sifted flours and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  • In another bowl whip egg whites until soft peaks form.
  • Gently fold in whipped egg whites into egg and flours mixture, using a metal spoon and stirring over and under the mixture. The final mixture should be light, white and very soft.
  • Pour into a 25 cm diameter mould, previously greased and dusted with flour.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes.
  • Allow it to cool on a wire rack, then wrap in aluminium foil and store until needed. (It should be made at least one day in advance).

Make the Italian Meringue

  • Beat egg whites with 50 gr of sugar in a stand mixer bowl at low speed.
  • While whites are being beaten, put water then 200 gr of sugar in a thick based pan and let the sugar melt. It will start slowly to make bubbles, so pay attention and wash down from the pan sides the sugar crystals with a clean brush dipped in water.
  • When the syrup reaches 121°C, remove it from the heat and slowly add it into the egg whites which are now white and stiff.
  • Pour syrup in a thin stream, taking care not to let it run onto the whisk, but letting it slide along bowl sides, as to be conveyed into the centre by mixer movements.
  • Beat at high speed until it is glossy white and airy, you’ll need about 10 minutes: don’t overbeat. Put in the fridge covered with cling film.

make the orange pastry cream

  • Heat milk on medium heat with the peel of one orange.
  • Whip egg with sugar and flour.
  • Pour hot milk over the egg mixture and bring back to the heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  • As soon as custard is thick and veils the spoon, take off the orange peel, remove from the heat, cover with cling film and let cool down.

Make the Orange pastry cream semifreddo

  • Whip cream until soft peaks form.
  • Add orange pastry cream and Italian meringue, stirring gently from the bottom to the top.
  • Set aside in the fridge.

Make the cocoa semifreddo

  • Whip cream until soft peaks form.
  • Sift cocoa powder over whipped cream, fold in Italian meringue and mix, stirring gently from the bottom to the top until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Set aside in the fridge.

Making the dessert

  • Mix water and alchermes in equal quantities.
  • Use 6 half sphere moulds (I used moulds of about 250 ml capacity).
  • With these amount of ingredients you’ll have delicious leftover.
  • Remove brown sides from the sponge cake and slice it, making 1 cm thick slices.
  • Line moulds with sponge cake slices pressing it down gently.
  • Spread with orange pastry cream semifreddo, filling half of the mould, then cover it with sponge cake slices and press gently.
  • Brush with alchermes and water mixture.
  • Spread with cocoa semifreddo and cover with sponge cake slices.
  • Wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for about 3 hours.
  • When completely set, remove from the freezer, turn out the dessert and brush the outer surface of the zuccotto with alchermes and water mixture.
  • You can serve it with a chocolate sauce, whipped cream or as it is.
  • If stored in the freezer for long time, remove it at least one hour in advance before serving, to allow it to defrost.
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