Marco Pierre White's favourite summer dessert

Marco Pierre White cooks up a cool Zuccotto gelato.
Zuccotto Gelato.
Zuccotto Gelato.

You might think: "I'd rather read a book than make this recipe", but please give it a try. I find in this heat my sweet tooth is more demanding than usual, and this little number is an ideal way to satiate it.

The first thing you need to do is to create some space in your freezer to put the bowl. That is important because the key to the success of this recipe is to make sure that the ice-cream mixture you are creating doesn't simply melt into a thick soup.

Nothing says summer quite like gelato. I remember eating my first proper Italian ice cream in the Piazza Navona in Rome. I went for the one flavour I couldn't pronounce, zabaglione. You don't see it that often these days, but it's basically a bit like eggnog - you know, that thing made of sugar and egg yolks that your mother used to knock up for you when you were ill.

I thought it was the best ice cream I had ever eaten - creamy, thick, but refreshing at the same time, with just enough sweetness to make it interesting but not sickly.

This recipe achieves a good balance of sweetness, too, because although the ice cream with the candied fruit cubes and raisins is really sweet, the sponge cake, fruit and cream offset that nicely.

It is a doddle to make, especially if you can buy the sponge ready made. If not then, just knock up one of my faves, the old "quatre-quart", or four quarters. Weigh two eggs and then mix them with the same amount of self-raising flour, butter and sugar, pop into the oven for 25 minutes and you have the most wonderful golden brown sponge.

Pick whatever berries you like, but my advice is to go for raspberries and blueberries, a winning combo that not only looks nice but also tastes divine. Make sure you pick a packet without any that are off, because just one can contaminate them all.

As for the chocolate sauce, well, to be honest you can live without it, but if you really want to silence that sweet tooth then go for it.


Make it yourself


2 pieces sponge cake about 33cm in diameter

200ml orange juice

1kg vanilla ice cream

200g raisins

200g candied fruit cubes

500g chocolate ice cream

400ml whipping cream

50g icing sugar

400g fresh berries of your choice

400ml chocolate sauce



1. Place a large pudding bowl of around 22cm diameter in the freezer for 1 hour.

2. Slice the sponge cake 1cm thick.

3. Coat the inside of the bowl with the slices of sponge.

4. Sprinkle with orange juice and return to the freezer.

5. Mix the vanilla ice cream with raisins and candied fruits in a bowl and work with a spatula until smooth.

6. Fill the bowl two thirds with the mixture and top with the chocolate ice cream.

7. Cover with sponge cake slices and wrap with cling film. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

8. Whip the cream with icing sugar until firm, and fold into a piping bag.

9. Remove the zuccotto from the freezer and empty onto a serving plate. Decorate with the whipped cream and fresh berries, and serve the chocolate sauce on the side.



Published: August 10, 2011 04:00 AM


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