Ingredients

For the filling:
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
4 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup toasted, skinned hazelnuts, crushed
To assemble:
1 recipe pan di Spagna, sliced into thin vertical slices (see link)
Italian brandy, for sprinkling the pan di Spagna
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish

Directions

1. To make the filling: Place chocolate in mixing bowl. Bring cream to a boil, pour over chocolate and let stand 2 minutes; whisk smooth. Refrigerate, stirring often, until cool but not hard.
2. Meanwhile, butter a 1 1/2-quart bowl and line with plastic wrap. Line prepared bowl with pieces of pan di Spagna, overlapping pieces slightly; set aside unused pieces of cake to use later. Sprinkle cake pieces lining bowl with brandy and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
3. When chocolate mixture is cool, combine egg whites and sugar in clean, dry bowl of electric mixer and whisk over, not in, a pan of simmering water until egg whites are hot to the touch and sugar is dissolved. (Rub some of egg white and sugar mixture between your fingertips; if it feels grainy, continue to whisk and stir until it feels smooth and slippery.) Attach bowl to mixer fitted with whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until cool.
4. To assemble: Place cooled chocolate mixture on mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat briefly to lighten. Fold in almonds and hazelnuts. Fold in meringue just until incorporated. Pour and scrape into cake-lined bowl and cover completely with remaining pieces of cake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least several hours but preferably overnight.
5. To serve, invert a platter or cake stand on the mold and invert the cake on to the platter. Remove bowl and plastic wrap. Dust dome with confectioners’ sugar and cocoa, slice and serve immediately.

Nick Malgieri uses brandy to moisten the sponge cake that makes the dome’s shell, but you may substitute rum, orange-liqueur, or a spirit of your choosing. For the best results, prepare the dome 1 day ahead and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Chocolate-Filled Dome Cake (Zuccotto alla Cioccolata )
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