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Tuscan Zuccotto

  The first semifreddo dessert in history was created in Florence by Buontalenti, the inventor of ice cream (his cream flavor was his most famous), when he decided to try and use snow and ice, which at the time were kept in deep wells for refrigeration, to freeze a sweet cream. Caterina De’Medici presented the dessert to the court of France: “a semifreddo made of ricotta and iced cream, but which is not frozen” (cit. Righi-Parenti) from which was born the classic zuccotto dessert which everyone now knows and enjoys. There are several theories and legends about the origin of the name Zuccotto. One says that it camefrom the name of the helmet that protected the head, forehead and neck area during battle. The shape of the dessert resembles the piece of armour. There is also a theory that says its name comes from its shape, which resembles a zucca, the name for the beanie worn by cardinals to this day. The semifreddo is surrounded by sponge cake while the inside is of two colors, a white half, which sometimes has candied fruit or bits of chocolate, and a dark half, to which is added cocoa. The ricotta, sugar and cream are added. It is served cold and can be served with the same liquor used inits ingredients or with a coffee liqueur.