Zuccotto alla Ricotta

Ricotta Dome

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Preparation info

  • Makes


    ample servings
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

The elegant pastry shops of Rome and Florence are filled with zuccotti of all flavors and appearances. Most of them are made in slightly flared, round-topped, bucket-shaped molds, although the classic zuccotto shape is a half-sphere. The name derives from zucco, or pumpkin; the dome shape recalls that of Florence’s Duomo, or cathedral. The zuccotto is a thoroughly Florentine dessert.

I like to use a ITA-quart Pyrex bowl to mold the zuccotto — the shape is just right — and even though the bottom of the bowl is slightly flat, the finished dessert looks like a perfect dome.

A zuccotto is, made in a mold lined with liqueur-soaked pan di spagna, filled with a creamy mousse, and covered with another disk of pan di spagna to make a stable base for the dessert after it is unmolded. Although a zuccotto is usually left fairly plain after it is unmolded, I like to cover this one with whipped cream for a more finished appearance.



  • 1 pound whole-milk ricotta, commercial or homemade
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon anisette
  • 3 tablespoons white rum
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted pistachios, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons unsalted pistachios, chopped, for finishing


Butter a -quart bowl and line it with plastic wrap. Slice a horizontal disk from the pan di spagna; reserve for covering the filling. Cut the rest of the pan di spagna into 2 large wedges. Cut the wedges into thin horizontal slices and line the bowl with them. Sprinkle with the rum.

Combine the ricotta and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Combine the anisette and 3 tablespoons rum in a small heat-proof bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on the surface of the liquids. Allow to soak until the liquids are absorbed, then place over a small pan of simmering water to melt. Whisk the dissolved gelatin into the ricotta mixture, then stir in the pistachios and chocolate. Whip the cream until it holds its shape but is not too stiff and fold it in.

Pour the filling into the prepared bowl and cover with the reserved disk of pan di spagna. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until set, about 6 hours or overnight.

Invert a platter on the mold and invert the zuccotto onto the platter. Remove the bowl and the plastic wrap. Whip the cream and spread it on the outside of the zuccotto, using a metal spatula. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.

Refrigerate the zuccotto, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until serving time, no more than 6 or 8 hours later.