Lo Florentine zuccotto it is an ancient dessert, called by many, due to its cap shape, "the helmet of Caterina de 'Medici", as it seems that the gourmet niece of Lorenzo the Magnificent had this semifreddo prepared for a banquet.
The dessert consisted of a covering of sponge cake while the filling was based on ricotta, citrus peel and grated chocolate, externally it was wet with alchermes which gave it a beautiful red color.
Today this fresh dessert has many variations that mostly include a filling based on cream, ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit of various kinds.
Saverio Carmagnini, chef of the Carmagnini restaurant from the 500s and a scholar of the history of cuisine, over the years he has carried out in-depth research on the Tuscan Renaissance to better understand its gastronomic tradition. The sources consulted by Saverio do not report the texts of the recipes but only the ingredients used, this allowed him to be able to interpret the dishes, with a result that also left a lot of space for the skill and imagination of the cook. Here is his version of the zuccotto.
For the sponge cake: 75 g of 00 flour, 75 g of potato starch, 4 eggs, 150 g of sugar, 30 g of cocoa, 1 vanilla pod. For filling: fresh cream, chocolate flakes. For the syrup: 75 ml of milk, 200 ml of water, 75 g of sugar, 25 g of cocoa powder.
«My zuccotto alla fiorentina is a variation of the traditional recipe, this dessert has sponge cake as a base, then I reworked it with a chocolate dip and, inside, fresh cream and pieces of chocolate. Since this is my reinterpretation, I have eliminated both the alcoholic syrup and the candied fruit ».
Text taken from “At the table from Florence to Chianti. A journey through food and wine. Raw materials, recipes and historical events"Of Milko Chilleri, edited by Expos.