Cathedral of Florence
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La Belle Cuisine - More Cake Recipes
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To cook is to create. And
to create well...is an act of integrity, and faith."
"I feel the end approaching.
Quick, bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur."
- Pierette, great-aunt of Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
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Seems there are a number of theories about
the term "zuccotto". They range
For the spongecake:
from its possible derivation from
the Italian word for pumpkin - "zucco" - to
the dessert's appearance being
reminiscent of the cathedral dome in Florence.
The latter theory gets our vote.
6 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioner's sugar (for cutting board)
2 1/4 cups well-chilled heavy cream
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Cognac
1/4 cup chopped lightly toasted slivered almonds
3/4 cup chopped toasted and skinned hazelnuts
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Make the spongecake: In a metal bowl beat together lightly the
eggs, the granulated sugar and the vanilla, set the bowl in a large pan of hot water,
stir the mixture until it is barely warm. Remove the bowl from the pan and with an
electric mixer beat the mixture for 10 minutes, or until it is tripled in volume. Sift the
flour over the egg mixture in batches, folding it
in gently, and fold in the butter
gently, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Butter a jelly-roll pan, 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1 inches, line it with wax
paper, and butter and flour the paper. Turn the batter carefully into the
pan, spread it
evenly, and bake it in a preheated 350-degree F. oven for
17 minutes, or until it is golden. Let
the spongecake cool in the pan on a rack, invert it
onto a cutting board, sprinkled
lightly with confectioner's sugar, and peel
off the paper.
In a chilled bowl beat the cream until it just holds soft peaks, beat in
1/4 cup of the confectioner's sugar, the vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of
the Cognac, and beat
the mixture until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold in
the almonds, the hazelnuts, and the
bittersweet chocolate, transfer half
the mixture to another bowl, and fold the unsweetened
the mixture in one of the bowls.
Line a 2 1/2-quart bowl with 2-inch-wide strips of wax paper. Cut the spongecake into pieces and cover the wax paper with some of them, reserving the remaining
cake for the top.
In a small bowl combine the Grand Marnier and the remaining 1 tablespoon
Cognac and brush the cake lining the bowl with the mixture, reserving 2 teaspoons. Spread
the vanilla cream mixture on the side of the spongecake and spoon the chocolate cream
mixture into the center. Cover the cream with the remaining spongecake with the reserved
liqueur mixture. Chill the dessert, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 6 hours and up
to 24 hours. Invert the dessert onto a serving plate, discard the wax paper, and sprinkle
the dessert with 1/4 cup of the remaining confectioner's sugar.
In a small bowl combine the remaining 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar with
the cocoa powder. Cut out 1/4-inch-thick strips from a sheet of wax paper, put them over
the dessert to make ribs", and sift the cocoa sugar over the dessert. Remove the wax
paper carefully and chill the dessert.
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