I made a cute lil mini test run of this in preparation for an event in a couple of weeks. Lovely presentation, but I had some issues with the chocolate layer, which maybe isn't supposed to be like chocolate mousse afterall, which is what I was expecting? After melting and slightly cooling the chocolate and whipping the cream, I folded a small amount of cream pretty well into the choc., as directed, but did not mix it thoroughly, i.e., did not deflate all that air. Then folded in the rest of the whipped cream for that part. Dregs in the bowl for licking were moussey. Put the rest of the bugger together. After 2 hours in fridge, the chocolate layer had some bitsy flecks of "congealed" chocolate, was still whippy, daggum thing was mighty tasty though. Had to get it out of the house before total consumption, so my guinea pigs at work and I had at it for an afternoon snack. The chocolate layer was very crumbly and the whipped cream was almost undetectable! Was a mess to cut with the crumbliness of the chocolate. Do ya think that's the way it's supposed to be, or was my folding technique not up to zuccotto snuff? I know several on the BB have made this, so how did your chocolate layer turn out overnight? The guinea pigs loved it anyway, poopooing my dismay at how different it was from the night before. And BTW, isn't whipping of cream just the most rewarding thing?! Take that liquid and end up with all that fluffy goodness! Thanks for any input, folks!
Zuccotto (Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis)
Nonstick cooking spray
1 (12-ounce) loaf pound cake
1/4 cup brandy
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups chilled whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted, coarsely crumbled (I used fewer almonds)
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Spray a 1 1/2-quart bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bowl with plastic wrap. Cut the pound cake crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice diagonally in half, forming 2 triangles. Line the bottom and sides of the prepared bowl with the cake triangles. Brush some of the brandy over the cake triangles lining the bowl. Reserve the extra triangles.
Stir the chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup of cream in another large bowl until it is thick and fluffy. Fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate. Fold half of the remaining whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spread the chocolate cream over the cake, covering completely and creating a well in the center. Cover and refrigerate if not assembling cake right away.
In another clean large bowl, add the remaining 1 cup of cream and almond extract. Using an electric mixer with clean beaters, beat on medium speed and gradually add the powdered sugar. Beat until firm peaks form. Fold in the nuts. Spoon the cream mixture into the center of the well of the filling.
Brush the remaining cake slices with brandy and arrange them, brandy side down, over the cake, covering the filling completely and trimming to fit, if necessary. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
Invert the cake onto a platter. Remove the bowl and the plastic wrap. Sift the cocoa powder over and serve.