Panettone originated in the early 1900s, and was made with leftover bread dough and dried fruit by poor people at Christmastime. After World War I, the confectionery companies Motta and Alemagna copied the idea, and the cake achieved worldwide fame. Zuccotto, a traditional northern Italian recipe, is usually made with plain sponge, but during the festive season it is a wonderful way for using up leftover panettone.




Skill level

Average: 3.4 (270 votes)


  • 1 kg ricotta 
  • 140 g caster sugar 
  • 70 g candied fruit, finely chopped 
  • 40 g flaked almonds 
  • 50 g plain chocolate chips or shavings 
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting 
  • 600 g panettone, cut into 2 x round discs, and the remaining lengthways into 2.5 cm-thick slices
  • 175 ml Vin Santo

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 6 hours

Mix together half of the ricotta with half of the sugar in a medium bowl until creamy. Fold in half of the candied fruit, half of the almonds and half of the chocolate chips until well combined, and set aside. 

In another medium bowl, mix the remaining ricotta and sugar with the cocoa powder until creamy.

Stir in the remaining candied fruit, flaked almonds and chocolate chips and set aside.

Use a 10-cup pudding basin or a deep bowl with plastic wrap, leaving quite a bit of excess around the edges.

Line with the slices of panettone and, using a pastry brush, brush about three-quarters of the Vin Santo over the cake slices.

Fill with the chocolate ricotta mixture, which should half-fill the basin.

Take one of the round panettone discs, place over the top and press, then drizzle over some of the Vin Santo.

Fill with the white ricotta mixture and cover with the other panettone disc, then drizzle with the remaining Vin Santo.

Bring up the overhang of plastic wrap and place a weight on top (a plate with a bag of sugar on it, for example), and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

Remove from the fridge, take off the weight and the plastic wrap over the top. Turn upside-down on a plate. Carefully remove the pudding basin and peel off the plastic wrap.

Dust with sifted extra cocoa powder and serve.


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel