Zuppa Inglese is a traditional Italian dessert originating from the region of Emilia-Romagna although it can now be found throughout Northern and Central Italy.
It is made by layering pastry cream and savoiardi (lady fingers) biscuits soaked into Alchermes liqueur which gives unusual twist to this creamy dessert. It has a bright red colour and a specific spicy-sweet flavour from clove, anis, cinammon, nutmeg etc. If you can't find this liqueur, you can use alternatives such as rum, amaretto or Marsala.
We'll share with you original recipe for this creamy Italian dessert. The preparation is so easy. You just need to prepare pastry cream and combine it with soaked lady fingers. This dessert is the best when prepared in advance and cooled in the fridge overnight.
Zuppa Inglese can be served in one large bowl or six individual glasses. As a testament to its popularity, there is even a gelato flavour called Zuppa Inglese in Italy. Zuppa Inglese is an ideal treat as an afternoon snack or as a sweet conclusion to the meal.
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Zuppa Inglese Recipe
SERVES: 4 COOKS IN: 40 minutes plus chilling DIFFICULTY: Moderate
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and you get a creamy texture. Stir in the cornstarch and mix until combined.
Pour the milk, cream and vanilla bean into a heavy-based pan and set over a low heat bringing to a gentle simmer.
Remove from the heat. Take out vanilla bean from the milk. Gently pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and whisk over a low heat until the cream thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Divide the cream into two bowls. Add the chocolate to one and stir until melted and leave the remaining cream plain. Set the bowls of cream aside to cool.
Combine the water and Alchermes liqueur in a bowl. Quickly dip one by one ladyfinger into the liquid and place side by side at the bottom of your bowl or serving glasses. Top with a layer of chocolate cream. Add another layer of ladyfingers followed by plain cream. Repeat this one more time - your final layer should be plain cream.
To make a special effect decorate dessert with the shaved chocolate before serving. Zuppa Inglese should be cooled in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. The best would be to keep them refrigerated overnight.
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