Zuppa inglese

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Zuppa inglese

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Category: Desserts, no photo, Vegetarian

Servings: 10

This dessert often gets translated as “trifle”. It is a layered dessert like trifle, but is as far as one can get from the jelly and sherry of British offerings.


  • Savoiardi (Ladyfinger) biscuits, around 300-400g (10-13 oz), depending on the size of your dish
  • Alchermes liqueur
  • 200 g (4 oz) sugar
  • 1 litrel (2 pints) milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 fresh vanilla pod
  • 250 ml (1/2 pint) whipping cream, 30 g (1 oz) sugar
  • 100 g (3 oz) good quality bitter cocoa powder
  • Chocolate shavings to decorate


  1. Split open the vanilla pod and place in a saucepan with the milk. Heat to soften the vanilla, then scrape the seeds into the milk (discard the pod). Leave the milk to cool a little.
  2. In a large bowl, vigorously beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the result is light in colour and frothy.
  3. Add the cornflour and beat well.
  4. Add the milk gradually to the contents of the bowl, beating constantly with a whisk.
  5. Put the mixture back into the pan and slowly heat again, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.The custard should be quite thick but will thicken even more once it cools. Allow to cool.
  6. Set aside half the custard. To the other half, add the cocoa powder and mix in well.
  7. Whip the cream until it is stiff, adding the sugar towards the end.
  8. In your serving dish, spread out a layer of ladyfinger biscuits, first dipping them lightly (don’t get them soggy!) in the liqueur.
  9. Carefully spread the non-chocolate custard on top, and add another layer of biscuits dipped in the liqueur mix. Then add the chocolate custard layer.
  10. Finish with the layer of whipped cream (and chocolate shavings if you like).

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