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Best Zuppa Inglese Recipes

Best Zuppa Inglese Recipes

Zuppa Inglese Shopping Tips

Buy fresh herbs and spices to season your soup; fresh garlic, parsley, and thyme will enhance the flavor without being overpowering.

Zuppa Inglese Cooking Tips

Most soups are better the day after their made. If possible refrigerate your soup overnight before serving.

Zuppa Inglese Recipe | Italian Cake Recipe

Despite its name, Zuppa Inglese (literally translated “English soup”) is a creamy cake and certainly not “soupy”!! Once again, this is a desert recipe which uses the basic Sponge Cake but in this case, the Sponge Cake is baked in a spring-form pan and allowed to grow tall so that it can then be sliced horizontally into 3 separate discs.


  1. Pastry Creams
    • 4 cups milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
    • 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar
    • 10 large egg yolks
    • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
    • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  2. Syrup
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup dark rum
    • 1 9-inch-diameter sponge cake (3 inches high)
    • 2 cups chilled whipping cream
    • Chocolate shavings (optional)
    • Chopped candied fruit (optional)

Ballarini's thesis

Academian Giovanni Ballarini suggests we look for the origins of Zuppa Inglese in Emilia-Romagna. And, more precisely in Parma, at the court of Maria Luisa of Austria, towards the beginning of the nineteenth century. The court’s benefactor at the time was Vincenzo Agnoletti from Rome – who, perhaps under the influence of the old Tuscan-Emilian Renaissance recipes, developed the first Zuppa Inglese, where rum (the typical liqueur of English sailors), appeared among the ingredients. In his work titled “Manuale del cuoco e del pasticciere di raffinato gusto moderno” (1832), Agnoletti writes about Zuppa Inglese, saying that it should be prepared "like a marangone” – with the final touch of rum and meringue. But what is a marangone? Agnoletti elaborates: this is an old cake recipe originating in Mantua, the so-called Marangone alla Mantuana, which was prepared by soaking "nuns' biscuits" or sponge cake in wine or rosolio, and making several layers interspersed with almonds, pistachios and candied fruit and icing on top. "In addition to the wine and rosolio, you can vary the recipe with cream or some fruit jam.”

Zuppa Inglese

Zuppa Inglese "English Soup" is a delicious trifle made with vanilla and chocolate custard and wet sponge cake (you can also use ladyfingers) with Alchermes (an aromatic, herb-infused, red-colored liqueur).

For the Zuppa Inglese you'll need: Vanilla Pastry Cream, Chocolate Pastry Cream, Sugar Syrup with Alchermes liqueur, sponge cake-like Swiss roll.


Vanilla Pastry Cream:

  • 75g Egg Yolk (about 4)
  • 1 Vanilla Bean or 5g Vanilla Powder
  • 400ml / 1 ¾ cup Milk
  • 100ml / ½ cup of Heavy Cream
  • 100g / ½ cup of Granulated Sugar
  • 45g / 3 tbsp of Cornstarch

Chocolate Pastry Cream:

  • 100g / &frac23 cup Chopped Dark Chocolate. (We used 85%)
  • 75g Egg Yolk (about 4)
  • 1 Vanilla Bean or 5g Vanilla Powder
  • 500ml / 2 cups of Milk
  • 100g / ½ cup of Granulated Sugar
  • 45g / 3 tbsp of Cornstarch
  • A pinch of Salt

Alchermes Sugar Syrup:

  • 100g / ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 200ml of Water (just a little less then a cup)
  • 100ml / ½ cup of Alchermes

Sponge cake-like Swiss roll:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 100g / ½ cup of Granulated Sugar
  • 45g / &frac13 cup Flour
  • 45g / 3 tbsp Potato starch
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder


How to make Vanilla Pastry Cream:

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, the heavy cream, and vanilla flavoring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk fast the egg yolks, and sugar then adds the cornstarch. When the milk is almost boiling, whisk while adding &frac13 into the egg mixture to temperate and liquefy the batter. Then whisk the egg-milk mixture into the saucepan. Cook the pastry cream over low heat, constantly whisking, until thick it takes about 2 minutes. Off the heat, transfer to a bowl, and stir for a few minutes to hasten to cool. Refrigerate in a piping bag for about 1 hour before using it.

How to make Chocolate Pastry Cream:

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla to a simmer in a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and cornstarch when the milk is almost boiling, whisk while adding &frac13 into the egg mixture to temperate and liquefy the batter. Then whisk the egg-milk mixture into the saucepan. Cook the pastry cream over low heat, constantly whisking, until thick it takes about &frac23 minutes. Off the heat, transfer to a bowl whisk in the dark chocolate until melted. Stir for a few minutes to hasten to cool and refrigerate in a piping bag for about 1 hour before using it.

How to make the Sugar Syrup:

How to make Sponge cake / Swiss roll

How to assemble:


If you don't find Alchermes where you live, you can use Marsala liqueur as a substitute but what makes the Zuppa Inglese a genuine taste of Italy is the Alchermes liqueur.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup diced candied orange peel
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 36 savoiardi (lady fingers)


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Best Zuppa Inglese Recipes - Recipes

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Is zuppa inglese from England? One of the possible legends suggests that zuppa inglese was created in the mid-19th century in the hills of Fiesole over Florence, where the Tuscan maid of a wealthy English family put together a hearty dessert using biscuits, chocolate pudding, and custard leftover from their afternoon tea. It reveals a lot about the ability of Tuscan people to use leftovers creatively, turning them into another delicious treat.
The key ingredient of a traditional zuppa inglese is alchermes: a Renaissance spirit that was a favorite liqueur of the Medici family, the Tuscan elixir for long life and known as a pick-me-up for delicate women. The bright crimson liqueur is still made today by the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy in Florence using the same recipe that was created in 1743, along with many other artisanal and refined liqueurs.

  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 120 g sugar
  • 40 g cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Peel of 1 lemon
  • 70 g dark chocolate
  • 120 g savoiardi (sponge finger biscuits)
  • 200 ml alchermes
  • Cocoa powder

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and lemon peel to a simmer. Once it starts to simmer, remove from the heat.

In another saucepan, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch until light and creamy. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, stirring constantly.

Cook over low heat, whisking continuously, until the custard bubbles and thickens.

Divide the custard into two bowls. Add the chopped dark chocolate into one bowl and whisk to melt until perfectly combined.

Pour the alchermes into a bowl. Briefly dip the savoiardi into the alchermes for just a few seconds per side.

Now, make the zuppa inglese. In a medium-sized bowl, make a layer with half of the chocolate custard, gently spreading it with a spatula. Top it with one third of the savoiardi soaked in alchermes, then spread half of the custard on top of them. Add another layer of savoiardi soaked in alchermes, then spread the rest of the chocolate and top with the remaining savoiardi soaked in alchermes. Finish with a layer of custard.

Dust the surface with cocoa powder and let the zuppa inglese sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

Home made alchermes

My grandma’s alchermes was obviously the industrial and commercial bottle that you could buy at the supermarket, full of artificial colouring and chemical aromas. Once I tried the Santa Maria Novella alchermes, though, I understood that I could not come back to the old one. It was time to stock up your pantry with a quintessential Tuscan ingredient: use it to brush sponge cakes, to colour the icing of cakes and cupcakes, to soak biscotti and lady fingers, to add depth of flavour and a veil of history to many sweet recipes.

The most challenging part is to find all the required ingredients, especially the dried cochineals. I found them in Florence at Bizzarri, a most fascinating century old apothecary. The recipe is from Paolo Petroni’s Il grande libro della vera cucina toscana.

Make Italian dessert zuppa inglese now that obscure liqueur is here

This sweet story begins in the pastry kitchen of a Philadelphia Italian fine-dining restaurant, where I worked as a pastry chef in the late 1980s. We turned out tray after tray of zuppa inglese, our banquet dessert — layers of rum-soaked sponge cake and cream, the cake dyed pink with grenadine. "Those Italians," was my thought at the time, "why do they need a pink dessert?"

Fast-forward to a recent trip to the Emilia Romagna — a lingering lunch in a trattoria in the countryside cured meats, pasta and big spoonfuls of zuppa inglese from a huge bowl on the dessert cart. On return, it was time to re-create that ending and rekindle those memories. My traveling companion insisted we could not make zuppa inglese without alkermes, the traditional Tuscan cherry-red liqueur used as a bagna per dolci (bath for sweets). At the time, alkermes was unavailable in the U.S., so he bravely embarked on making his own, armed with a recipe translated from a book on Italian liqueurs.

The Luxardo version of alkermes recently became available domestically, just in time for baking season. Sold in big plastic bottles, it is infused with cinnamon, cloves, mace, vanilla, cardamom and coriander, plus both bitter and sweet oranges, according to Matteo Luxardo, export director for the company in Padua, in the Veneto region of Italy. It tastes spiced and boozy with a hot cinnamon kick, and is colored, against tradition, with red dye No. 40.

Older versions also featured the aromas of rose water and carnation. Originally, alkermes got its deep red color from its namesake, the kermes, the insect from which the dye known as cochineal ("al qirmiz" means "a worm" in Arabic) is created. It likely dates to 15th century Florence, where it was distilled by monks at Frata di Santa Maria Novella and where it is still available for purchase today, if you are in Florence and have an itch to bake.

Watch the video: Zuppa inglese. Juls Kitchen (December 2021).