Zuccotto with Mocha Custard Recipe

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Preparation Time30 mins plus chilling
Cooking Time5 mins
Total Time35 mins


  • 1 x pan (Italian sponge dome cake) or 2 Madeira cakes
  • 150ml (¼pt) Frangelico liqueur, or use brandy
  • 2 x 568ml tubs double cream
  • 300g (10oz) dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids)
  • 100g (4oz) hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 3tbsp unrefined icing sugar, sifted
  • 1tsp pure vanilla extract

For the custard

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2tbsp unrefined caster sugar
  • 600ml (1pt) whole milk
  • 4tbsp strong espresso coffee

You will need

  • 1.2 litre (2pt) pudding basin or similar


  1. Cut the cake into 1cm (½in) thick slices, leaving some cake to make a lid later. If you can, alternate the slices with crusts or darker sides to make a stripy pattern - it won't affect the flavour of the Zuccotto, just its look. Line the pudding basin as you would with a summer pudding, cutting odd bits to fit in any gaps. Pour some of the Frangelico onto a plate. Once the sides have been fitted, take out each sponge piece, one by one, and dip both sides into the liqueur. Replace in the pudding basin, pushing it into the dish with your fingers, and carry on in a similar fashion with the other pieces. Finally, cut a round shape for the base, dip it into the Frangelico and place in the base of the pudding basin. Put in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

  2. Lightly whip one tub of cream until just holding its shape, but don't overwhip it. Chop 100g (4oz) of the chocolate into chunks and stir into the cream with the hazelnuts, icing sugar and vanilla. Use this to line the base and sides of the mould, leaving a good gap in the centre where you are going to pour in the chocolate mix. Chill while you make the chocolate filling.

  3. Put the remaining cream and chocolate into a saucepan and heat gently until the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool. Once cool, keep 3tbsp for the custard and pour the rest into the pudding centre. Cut out the remaining cake to make a lid and soak in the Frangelico. Place on top of the filling. Wrap the whole pudding basin tightly in clingfilm and chill for at least 12 hours.

  4. To make the mocha custard, mix together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Scald the milk and pour it onto the egg yolks, stirring well. Place in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly until thickened. Add the espresso coffee and the 3tbsp chocolate cream, whisking well to combine. Pour into a bowl and cover with clingfilm, letting the clingfilm sit on the surface to avoid a skin forming. Chill in the fridge; you can leave it overnight. To serve, loosen the edges of the Zuccotto with a palette knife, then invert onto a plate. Slice into thin wedges and serve with the custard.