Zuccotto I

Zuccotto (zoo-kot-oh) is a well-known Italian dessert which resembles a pumpkin in shape. Serve this rich, spectacular- looking dessert at a special dinner party.

1 pint double cream , beaten until stiff

1 oz. plus

2 tablespoons icing sugar

2 oz. hazelnuts, toasted

8 oz. fresh cherrie.s, halved and stoned

4 oz. dark dessert chocolate, finely chopped or grated 2 fl. oz. brandy 2 fl. oz. orange-flavoured liqueur 2 x 8-inch Chocolate Sponge

Cakes, sliced in

2 horizontally

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream and 1 ounce icing sugar . Using a large metal spoon, fold in the hazelnuts, cherries and chocolate. Chill the bowl in the refrigerator.

In a small mixing bowl, mix together the brandy and orange-flavoured liqueur and set aside.

Line a 2-pint pudding basin with three-quarters of the sponge, cutting it into pieces with a sharp knife so that it fits the shape of the basin. Sprinkle the brandy mixture over the sponge lining.

Remove the cream mixture from the refrigerator and spoon it into the sponge case. Use the remaining sponge to cover it.

Chill the basin in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Remove the basin from the refrigerator. Run a knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen it. Invert a serving plate over the basin and, holding the two firmly together, reverse them. The zuccotto should slide out easily.

Sprinkle half of the remaining icing sugar neatly over one-quarter of the pudding. Sprinkle half the cocoa powder over a second quarter, then repeat this over the other half of the pudding so that the zuccotto has 4 alternating segments of colour.

Serve immediately.

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