Zuccotto often has a whipped cream filling, but we've gone for a
ricotta-based one instead. You'll need to begin this recipe a day
120 gmplain flour30 gmDutch-process cocoa, plus extra for dusting1 tbspcornflour6eggs180 gmcaster sugar80 gmbutter, melted and cooled60 mlCointreau, for brushingFor dusting:pure icing sugarRicotta filling50 gmhazelnuts, coarsely chopped100 gmpure icing sugar, sieved450 gmricottaScrapedseeds of 1 vanilla bean40 gmcandied orange peel, dicedChocolate ricotta filling180 gmdark chocolate (65% cocoa solids), finely chopped400 gmricotta40 gmpure icing sugar, sieved
Preheat oven to 160C. Sift flour, cocoa and cornflour into a bowl and set aside. Whisk eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until thick and pale (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, sift in half the flour mixture and fold in with a large metal spoon. Fold in melted butter, then sift in remaining flour mixture and fold to combine. Spread half the mixture into a 30cm-diameter circle, on a greased baking tray lined with baking paper, smooth and then repeat on a separate tray with remaining mixture. Bake, swapping trays halfway through cooking, until centres spring back when lightly pressed (7-8 minutes). Cool on trays, then invert each onto a piece of baking paper and peel off backing.
Meanwhile, for ricotta filling, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat, add hazelnuts, dust with 40gm icing sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally with an oiled fork, until caramelised (2-3 minutes), transfer to an oiled heatproof tray. Cool completely, coarsely chop and set aside. Process ricotta, vanilla seeds and remaining icing sugar in a food processor until very smooth, transfer to a bowl, stir through candied orange peel and caramelised nuts. Refrigerate until required.
Meanwhile, for chocolate ricotta filling, melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Process ricotta and icing sugar in a food processor until very smooth, add chocolate, process to combine.
Line a 1.75-litre pudding mould or bowl with strips of baking paper. Cut one cake half into a circle large enough to fit top of pudding bowl and set aside. Cut remaining cake half into eight even wedges and line sides of pudding mould, using cake scraps to fill any gaps. Brush generously with Cointreau, then spoon in ricotta filling, spreading evenly up sides. Fill with chocolate ricotta filling, smooth top and place remaining cake round on top. Brush with Cointreau, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove zuccotto from mould, using baking paper strips to ease it onto a serving plate, dust with icing sugar and cocoa. Zuccotto will keep refrigerated for 3 days.