a close up of a piece of cake on a plate
a close up of a piece of cake on a plate

Zuccotto - Christmas Panettone Pudding

Panettone originated in the early 1900s and was made by poor people at Christmastime with leftover bread dough and whatever bits of dried fruit they had. A few years later, the Milanese confectionery company, Motta, copied the idea and started to produce it commercially. The Christmas table in Italy just wouldn't be the same without this cake. Zuccotto is a Tuscan pudding made with plain sponge and ricotta. As over Christmas I tend to have lots of panettone, I combined the two together and made this lovely rich dessert. Make it in advance and serve on Christmas Day as an alternative pudding. 

Make it yourself 

6-8 x servings


  • 1kg ricotta
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 70g candied fruit, finely chopped
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 50g chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 600g Panettone, cut into 2 round discs and the rest into slices lengthways 2.5cm thick
  • 170ml Vin Santo
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Orange zest to decorate
  • 1 x pudding basin or bowl approximately 15cm in diameter
  • Cling film


  1. In a bowl, mix half the ricotta with 70g of sugar until creamy, fold in 35g of candied fruit, 25g of flaked almonds and 25g of chocolate chips until all well amalgamated. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, combine the remaining ricotta with the remaining sugar, add cocoa powder and mix until creamy. Stir in the remaining candied fruit, flaked almonds and chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. Line the pudding basin or bowl with cling film leaving quite a bit of excess around the edges. Line with the slices of panettone and with the help of a pastry brush, brush about three quarters of the Vin Santo on the cake slices.
  4. Fill with the white ricotta mixture which should fill half the pudding basin. Take one of the round panettone discs and place over the top pressing gently and drizzle with some of the Vin Santo. Fill with the chocolate ricotta mixture and cover with the other panettone disc, drizzling with the remaining Vin Santo.
  5. Bring up the overhang of cling film and place a weight on top - I use a couple of heavy plates. Place in the fridge for at least six hours or overnight.
  6. Remove from the fridge and take off both the weight and the cling film over the top. Turn upside-down on a plate. Carefully remove the pudding basin and peel off the cling film. Dust all over with lots of sieved cocoa powder, decorate with orange zest and serve.
Try this Tuscan pud in it's homeland with a Christmas city break to Florence
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