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Florentine Zuccotto

Courses: Dessert

Recipe Ingredients

300   Cake or lady fingers - (lady fingers, pound
750   Whipping cream
60   Spirits - (rum or amaretto or whatever you l
  Assorted flavorings - (chocolate, nuts, coffee, liqueur
10   Unflavored gelatin - (optional)
50   Powdered sugar - (or more or less, to taste)

Recipe Instructions

1. Line a large hemispherical bowl with the cake or lady fingers. If you use cake, cut slices in half diagonally to make large triangles and arrange them in a sunburst pattern. If you use lady fingers, cut some in half diagonally and arrange in a flower-like pattern.

2. Douse generously with spirits; cake should be quite wet but not soggy.

3. Dissolve the gelatin in 2 tablespoons hot water in a cup; place the cup in a bowl of very hot water so the gelatin melts. Check occasionally to make sure the surrounding water stays hot. (I suppose you could use a microwave for this, but I've never tried.)

4. Divide the cream into two very cold bowls. Whip each until stiff; if the flavoring for either half isn't sweet, add powdered sugar to taste at this point. Beat the dissolved gelatin into the cream. Flavor each half separately. Spread one half around the inside of the cake-lined bowl; fill with the other half.

5. Top with more cake and douse with more spirits. Since this part doesn't show you don't need to be creative.

6. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

7. Turn out onto a platter and garnish with chopped nuts, grated chocolate, or powdered sugar if desired. Cut into wedges; serves about 10-20 people depending.

Author's Notes: This makes a great dessert for a party. It only takes about an hour to make (more if you bake a cake yourself instead of buying one) and only requires a few seconds to get ready when served.

The most recent zuccotto I made used rum to flavor the lady fingers. The first filling had powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and chopped semi-sweet chocolate. The second had melted semi-sweet chocolate mixed with about instant coffee dissolved in a little boiling water, and another chopped semi-sweet chocolate. (Just chop 3 of the squares of chocolate and melt the other 5). Chopped hazelnuts or almonds are also quite good. You can make a smaller one by using less, of course!

paul asente


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