This jolly fine thing has been a ticking-ice-cream-bombe waiting in the wings for the end of the festive hoo ha. An annual and ultimate dairy user-upper. All the cream, eggs, custard and goodly things that are left over, are lobbed into a Zuccotto. A do-what-oh? A Zuccotto or, an approximation there of, it’s just so fine and dandy. This one is simply a Milanese panettone stuffed with ice cream and sorbet. .
With its Florentine origins (by shape it resembles the Duomo – Cathedral dome). Zucchetto is a Cardinals cap. Zuccotto translates literally as ‘little pumpkin’. So from this we choose not to call it a bowl of cake and ice cream? The Italian versions traditionally include cake, ice cream and brandy. Most that I have had in Florence include chocolate too. No complaints as yet? This year our reformative and cosmopolitan version is ‘how-to-do, what to-do, and what a to-do. Do-what-oh. I know not very Italian but ….
The Italian nuns tried their damnedest to push an education into my rebellious head in their ecclesiastical auberge. Though bizarrely, ones stained and tainted mind returned to the first feast ‘day off school’ after we started back from the Christmas shebang. To a non-Catholic gal having a day off to celebrate a chair seemed like a thoroughly sound plan. I was indeed that shallow but remember little else other than being whisked off to London by my savvy Mother to celebrate the ‘70% off sales’ in the Cathedrals of Commerce also known as the Department stores of London (blush). Though ones blithering memory, I can confirm said feast is/was 18-22nd of January (The annual feast of Cathedra Petri being Chair of St. Peter) but only after a swift waft around the net.
I further find that I’m only slightly self-misguided. There is indeed said ornate and wondrous baroque styled chair, by Bernini no less, in St Peters Basilica in the Vatican since 1647-ish. I might have laughed out loud if I had found it was thought a gift to Pope John V111 in 875 from a chap known as Charles the Bald. I still struggle to keep that nefarious teenagers mindset in check and will scorn the inner, measly, apologetic, dissociative dissident oik.
The key is a suitable freezer bowl, by any other name, lined with cake, any sort of cake-esque-ness will do. Panettone or indeed a scooped out panettone (shown below) works as a shell/bowl. The commercial pastry chefs finest cheat is the use of pre-made sponge flan cases, readily available in supermarkets (also shown/ blush). Grand also if you would prefer to cut shapes to make pretty patterns and interlocking shapes. Make slits into the pre formed sponge, like the lining for a garden hanging basket (just omit the compost and flowers). Slices of store-bought swiss roll, lady fingers or a use for that bit of madeira cake that has seen better days to line a suitable bowl. Further more if you have half empty tubs of ice creams in your freezer this can make “a one size fit all” super pud too.
My thoughts took the Cassatta route since we are taken by the Italian vibe. Soaking a mix of ‘posh’ vine fruits and candied goodies, in Vin Santo, for some, and Amaretto for others. Fold into the ice cream of your choice. No cook vanilla is a spiffing option as shown.
I used a couple of little moulds an empty one set into the ice cream and the other set with a clementine sorbet, to avoid too much ‘bleed’. Juice of remaining tired satsumas, clementines and tangerines were topped up with a drop of orange juice. To this, a couple of teaspoons of glucose syrup, to avoid an icy set, and also lurking were a couple of desserts spoons of clementine marmalade which found themselves included for good-old-home- style-use-up measures.. I put them into an ice cream maker, since it was groaning from making the vanilla base. A frozen juice mix, once set in a tray and subsequently whizzed up in a food processor would have achieved the same end. I set some of this into the comparable mould. We ate the rest for pudding and it was super clementiny yummy.
Removing the tangy sorbet from its dome home and replacing the set version was simplicity itself….. and a hot cloth unnecessary in this instance.
The paint for the project (Italianate tiramisu-ly minded ) was provided by a combination of the soaking Vin Santo (well it should have been but… well you know how these things are). A shot of espresso, a glug of cognac and ‘some’ of the soaking Amaretto (further blushes of embarrassment) were painted onto the panettone lined bowl.
The cream whipped into shape with some icing sugar and vanilla extract as the plaster or welding gear.
The centre slathered in the whipped Chantilly cream cushioned the arrival of the iced ‘pleasure dome’. Once tucked into bed with the remaining pieces (which were welded into place with the remaining whipped cream). A wry smile turned into a girlish giggle of impending delight until I realised I might have nibbled at (reads as eaten all of the middle of) the patch work base. Deploy and hack up a fan case = sorted!
Nipping back and forth and testing to see how it’s doing doesn’t aid the swiftness of its set. After what should have been 24 sleepless hours …..
It was at this point the tea boy thrust surprise tickets into my cold paws and the following day we jumped onto a jet bound to warm and sunnier climes. Now slightly bronzed, and freckles more-or-less cover wrinkles I find ones ‘look’ is not unlike the ‘fruits into the ice cream’ shot as shown above – the spotty Matisse yellow look is incredibly currant this year apparently?
…..remove the frozen heavyweight from the freezer and leave it in the fridge to soften slightly. This consummate user-upper either domed, scooped or of simple horizontal layers, used all the naughty creams and custards left lurking about prior to our impromptu trip. Only once it was lobbed into the freezer did the Tea Boy sneakily hand me the tickets for the following day. So after all the excitement it’s been sitting there for over a couple of weeks now!
If you are partial to a bit of Muffuletta (Oh please behave!) OK a stuffed picnic loaf sandwich thing, this is its Ice-cream-frozen-dessert-Italian-cousin. You could, of course, cover it in meringue and make the worlds most awesome baked Alaska! Equally it could be covered with a warm melted chocolate magma, simply decorated with a dusting of icing sugar or cocoa (shown), dressed up like a birthday cake, made as small individual size or what ever takes your fancy. Be as creative or minimalist as your heart, and use-ups, desire.
Speaking of hearts and desire, making individual ones could be a delicious narrative – and with that a neat little Valentine opportunity pops to mind?
It’s a bucket list thing to do, oh now there’s a thought…..
Please be a Dharling and pass me that a big old heart-shaped bucket with ‘Her Zuccotto’ written on the outside?