'Zuccotto de panettone', Panettone and ricotta pudding


Serves 6

1kg ricotta
140g caster sugar
70g candied fruit, finely chopped
40g flaked almonds
50g chocolate chips
1 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
600g panettone cut into 2 round discs and the rest lengthways into slices lengthways 2.5cm thick
175ml Vin Santo

1. Mix together half of the ricotta with half of the sugar in a medium-sized bowl until creamy. Then fold in half of the candied fruit, half of the almonds and half of the chocolate chips until well combined, and set aside. In another medium-sized bowl, mix the remaining ricotta and sugar with the cocoa powder until creamy. Stir in the remaining candied fruit, flaked almonds and chocolate chips and set aside.

2. Line a 15cm diameter pudding basin or a deep bowl with clingfilm, leaving quite a bit of excess around the edges. Line with the slices of panettone and, using a pastry brush, brush about three-quarters of the Vin Santo over the cake slices. Fill with the chocolate ricotta mixture, which should fill half the basin. Take one of the round panettone discs, place over the top and press, then drizzle over some of the Vin Santo. Fill with the white ricotta mixture and cover with the other panettone disc, then drizzle with the remaining Vin Santo. Bring up the overhang of clingfilm and place a weight a top (a plate with a bag of sugar on it, for example), and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

3. Remove from the fridge, take off the weight and the clingfilm over the top. Turn upside-down on a plate. Carefully remove the pudding basin and peel off the clingfilm. Dust with sifted cocoa powder and serve.

A little history...
Panettone originated in the early 1900s and was made by poor people at Christmas time with leftover bread dough and whatever dried fruit they could fine. After World War I, the confectionery companies Motta and Alemagna copied the idea, and the cake achieved worldwide fame. Zuccotto, a traditional northern Italian dessert, is usually made with plain sponge, but during the festive season it is a wonderful way for using up leftover panettone.