Zuccotto alla Ricotta
- 1 (9 or 10-inch) Pan di Spagna, baked and cooled
- Butter for the mold
- 1 pound ricotta
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons Strega liqueur or other sweet liqueur, plus extra for sprinkling over Pan di Spagna
- 1 envelope gelatin
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons chopped, toasted slivered almonds
- 3/4 cup egg whites (whites of 6 large eggs)
- 1 cup sugar
Butter a 1 1/2-quart bowl and line it with plastic wrap. Slice a disk from the Pan di Spagna and cut the rest into 2 large wedges. Cut the wedges into thin slices and line the bowl with them. Sprinkle with the Strega. Reserve the disk to cover the filling later on.
Combine the ricotta and confectioners' sugar in the food processor and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Combine the Strega and gelatin and allow to soak until the liquid is absorbed, then place over simmering water to melt. Whisk the dissolved gelatin into the ricotta mixture. Whip the cream and fold it into the mixture. Fold in the almonds.
Pour the filling into the prepared mold and cover with the reserved slice of the Pan di Spagna. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until set, about 6 hours. Invert the Zuccotto on the platter and remove the bowl and plastic wrap.
For the meringue, combine egg whites and sugar in the bowl of electric mixer and place over a pan of simmering water, whisking constantly, until egg whites are hot and sugar is dissolved. Whip on mixer until cooled and increased in volume.
Spread meringue on outside of dessert. Pipe on a decoration of remaining meringue with a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tube. Place Zuccotto in 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes to color meringue. Chill before serving.