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Zuppa Inglese Recipe

This traditional Italian dessert comes from the region of Emilia-Romagna although it can now be found also throughout Northern and Central Italy. Zuppa Inglese is made of sponge cake or savoiardi soaked in Alchermes liqueur and pastry cream.

The dessert is very light and is ideal treat for every occassion. It is best prepared one day in advance so it is cooled in the fridge. In the original recipe we use Alchermes - red bright herbal liqueur made of spices (cloves, cinnamon, anis, vanilla) but other liqueur can be used also (amaretto, rum etc).

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COOKS IN: 30 minutes


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 45 g cornstarch
  • 120 g sugar
  • 800 ml milk
  • 200 ml cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 100 g quality dark chocolate
  • 100 ml alchermes liqueur
  • 24 savoiardi (lady fingers)
  • 200 ml water


  1. Pour the milk, cream and vanilla bean into a heavy-based pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat.

  2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until you get white and foamy texture. Add the cornstarch to the mixture. Take out vanilla bean from the milk. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you do so. Pour back into the pan and whisk over a low heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

  3. Divide the cream into two bowls. Add chocolate to one and stir until melted. Set the bowls of vanilla and chocolate custards aside to cool.

  4. Combine the water and alchermes liqueur in a bowl. Quickly dip the savoiardi into it and layer across the bottom of pretty serving bowls. Top with a layer of vanilla custard, add another layer or savoiardi, followed by chocolate custard. Continue in this way until you've used all the ingredients. 

  5. To make special effect decorate dessert with the shaved chocolate before serving. Zuppa inglese should be cooled in the fridge for at least 4 to 6 hours before serving. The best would be to keep them refrigerated overnight.

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