Thought to have been inspired by the cupola of Florence, Italy's, Duomo (the city's main cathedral), this dome-shaped dessert begins with a bowl lined with liqueur-moistened cake (usually pound cake) slices. The bowl is then filled with a mixture of sweetened whipped cream, chopped or grated chocolate and various chopped nuts before being topped with additional cake slices. The zuccotto is refrigerated at least a day so the filling can set. It's inverted onto a plate before being served.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.