Ricotta zuccotto

For this Italian treat, a panettone is filled with ricotta, cream and chocolate then chilled and covered in more chocolate for an addictive, decadent dessert.

Serves 6

Preparation 30 min

Cooking 5 min


  • 1 panettone

  • 7 oz Marsala (or cold freshly brewed espresso, or milk), plus 1 tbsp extra, optional

  • 2 cups full-cream ricotta

  • 4 tbsp icing sugar

  • 1 2/3 cups double cream

  • 1 handful dark chocolate chips

  • 1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped

  • 2 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • finely grated zest of 1 orange

  • 7 oz good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

  • berries, to serve


This recipe will need to be begun 1 day in advance.

Standing time: overnight

1. Line a pudding bowl with plastic wrap, leaving plenty overhanging to fold over the top of the pudding.

2. Cut a 3 14″-thick slice off the base of the panettone and set aside. You will use this to place on top after filling the pudding. Cut the remaining panettone into 3 14″-thick slices and use to line the base and sides of the pudding basin. Brush the panettone slices all over with Marsala.

3. Place the ricotta and icing sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth and until creamy.

4. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the ricotta mixture. Divide the mixture evenly between two bowls. Into 1 bowl, stir in the vanilla seeds and chocolate chips, and to the other bowl stir in the cocoa powder, cinnamon, orange zest and 1 tablespoon extra masala (if using).

5. Spoon half the vanilla cream into the pudding bowl and smooth the top, then top with all the chocolate and orange cream and finish with the remaining vanilla cream. Brush the reserved panettone round with any remaining masala, then place on top of the pudding and press firmly. Fold the plastic wrap over the top to enclose it securely. Put a small plate on top of the basin and something heavy to weigh it down. Refrigerate the zuccotto overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.

6. Shortly before you’re ready to serve, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Turn out the zuccotto onto a serving plate and remove the plastic. Pour the warm melted chocolate over the zuccotto – the fridge-cold pudding will set the chocolate, creating a delicious outer shell. Decorate with berries and serve straight away.

Silvia Colloca shares her Italian family secrets in the brand-new series, Cook like an Italian.

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