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Italian Cream Custard
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4.5 from 4 votes

Zuppa Inglese

I know you'll enjoy my version of a classic Italian dessert. Using vanilla and chocolate pastry cream, and Italian ladyfingers it's easy to see why Zuppa Inglese is loved by Italians all over the world.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
refrigerated2 hrs 18 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 9
Calories: 548kcal


Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar divided
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ounce semi sweet chocolate finely chopped


  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup dark rum
  • ½ grenadine
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange zest grated

Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream chilled
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste


  • 30 - 36 Savoradi ladyfingers sponge cake can be substituted
  • 2 oz sliced almonds toasted
  • 1 oz chocolate shavings for garnish
  • raspberries optional for garnish


Pastry Cream

  • Place the milk, sugar, cornstarch, eggs, vanilla and salt in a stainless steel bowl, mix well with a wire whip. Using a double boiler method place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and continue to whip until the mixture thickens.
  • Separate the mixture evenly into two bowls.
  • Add the chocolate to one bowl to make a chocolate cream. Mix well until chocolate is fully melted and incorporated into cream.
  • refrigerate for at least an hour.


  • Bring 1 cup water and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the grenadine, rum and orange zest. Allow the mixture to reduce slightly.
  • Remove the syrup from the heat let the mixture cool completely.

Whipped Cream

  • Slowly whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla bean paste until it forms soft peaks.
    *Start slow and gradually build up the speed. This will help the whipped cream keep its shape.
  • Divide the whipped cream in half. Divide one-half of the divided whipped cream into two parts and gently fold one part into each of the chilled pastry creams using a rubber spatula.
    *Allow the pastry creams to chill for one hour.


  • Using a 9 x 9-inch glass baking dish, make a layer of ladyfingers, and brush with the sugar syrup to moisten (use more than you think you need!)
  • Spread the vanilla pastry cream on top of the ladyfingers.
  • Top with another layer of ladyfingers, and brush that layer with the syrup
  • Spread the chocolate pastry cream over top of the second layer of lady fingers.
  • Top with the remaining whipped cream
  • Chill for at least two hours or overnight.
  • Before serving garnish with toasted almond slices, shaved chocolate and raspberries.


*Traditionally Alchermes is used and the grenadine isn't needed.
*To make a non-alcoholic version substitute grenadine for the rum
*Letting the Zuppa sit overnight will allow the flavors to build, giving you a more flavorful dessert! 
*This dessert can also be made in individual glasses


Calories: 548kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 241mg | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 1184IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 2mg