Are you ready to make Zuppa Inglese?
This is a dessert Mama Jeanette introduced me to so many years ago. One cold day in November she had asked me I wanted for dessert that night, and without thinking, I said chocolate pudding. As I walked out the door for my day’s work, I saw Mama smile, I had no idea what she was going to make but I knew it certainly wasn’t going to be instant chocolate pudding!
She didn’t say a word about dessert until after dinner that evening when she brought a glass bowl filled to the top with deliciousness! Mama Jeanette had made Zuppa Inglese! I had no idea what it was but as I devoured almost half the bowl, she explained it was, in fact, an Italian version of an English Trifle. Many years before her mother had taught her how to make this 17th-century classic, that had come from the Emila Romagna region of Italy.
I couldn’t find the Alchermes (a very bright red herbed cherry Liquor) that goes into this classic dessert. I had gone to one of our Liquor superstores to find that concoction, and when I stopped a worker to ask if they had it, he so enthusiastically asked in a very heavy Italian accent if I was making Zuppa Inglese!
I laughed and said yes I was and how did he know and did he have it? His instant reply was no, and that Zuppa Inglese was the only thing it was ever used for. He then began telling me how his Mama had made Zuppa Inglese for him and how much he missed her! I asked him if there was anything close to it and he again replied No, but to use rum and some Maraschino cherry juice instead.
I decided to pass on the maraschino cherry juice and instead added a layer of raspberries for that red color. I thought the contrast of flavors would also add another dimension to the dessert.
My Zuppa Inglese is actually fairly close to the Zabaglione, and to be honest with you, even when I do make the French version- Sabayon, I never ever use Marsala! I love Marsala with meats but just have never acquired the taste for it in desserts.
I made individual portions of this delicious dessert and I have to say the raspberries were essential! I didn’t quite get the separation I was looking for, but oh my did I get the flavors! My only shortcoming was in not using enough of my sugar syrup to really saturate the cookies and they were just a little crunchy, but still very very tasty!
If you enjoyed this recipe you may like these:
Hey Dennis so happy to find this site my great aunt use to use this recipe my sisters having her baby shower tomorrow and i’m making Zuppa Engles cake e so all I need to no is how to make 1 gallon of the chocolate custard back to me this is like a 911 you no how hormonal women are im trying to figure it out but I was looking at a comment about the custard so that’s 2 cups of milk to ever 1/2 cup chocolate custard and I was wondering if any of the other ingredients were wrong anyway HELP !!! thanks much ! Angel D
Chef Dennis Littley
just follow the directions in my post to make the custards, you’ll probably need to make it 4 times if you need that much
I am located in the Philadelphia area, living across the bridge in Jersey and working in Flourtown, Pa.n feeding 600 HS girls, its a small account so most of the work falls to me, including all the admin work as well, and that makes for a long day.
I am from San Antonio Texas originally, and its funny but my Mothers maiden name is Cueva, her father Joe was a minister and from Aguas Caliente originally. I haven’t been home in too many years. I would love to show my wife Texas, such a beautiful state.
I am very happy that you did find my blog and it’s certainly my pleasure to meet you. I hope to see you around and look forward to hearing from you. If you ever have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me,
Dennis, I used to work the graveyard shift in a bakery, so I know what those long, arduous shifts are like. Although I’m retired now, I hate to write recipes on my blog, hoping that my readers have the skills and confidence to improvise from guidelines. But I do appreciate your efforts.
I discovered your blog only this morning, and I’m pleased with your positive response to my feedback.
Where are you located? We are near Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, México.
Chef Dennis, I don’t want to be a PITA, but when I was looking over the print copy of this recipe, I noticed that the pastry cream had no sugar in it.
“Place the milk, cornstarch, eggs, vanilla and salt in a stainless steel bowl, mix well with a wire whip and place over a pot of boiling water and continue to whip until mixture thickens.”
Since the total amount of sugar as given in the ingredient list is 1 3/4 cups, and 1 cup of that goes into the syrup, and another 1/4 cup goes into the whipping cream, that leaves 1/2 cup for the pastry cream, which sounds about right to me. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
As a suggestion, it could be useful for readers to write, “1¾ cups sugar, DIVIDED”, in the ingredient list. Many of us, including myself, tend to proceed hastily and into a cooking disaster, without such advisories.
Thanks for your patience.
thank you so much for finding the mistake in the directions, I did as you suggested and added divided to the sugar, you are correct 1/2 cup goes into the pastry cream.
Unfortunately I write most of my posts after working 12 hours, and sometimes my attention to detail is not as good as it should be. Most of my cooking and photographing gets done on the weekends when I ‘m off so luckily that comes out pretty well…lol
Please hang in there with me, I can always use your help in editing! Please feel free to email me anytime you have a question.
Have a happy day my friend
This is beautiful and just what I was looking for. It seems more “do-able” than other recipes I’ve seen on the Web, but it doesn’t “cheat” with pudding mix and the like.
One question: the ingredient list mentions the zest of one orange, but where or how is it used in the procedure instructions?
sorry about that on the zest, add it into the sugar syrup mixture as your making it.
let me know how it comes out when you do make, it’s not at all difficult just a few steps that make it seem a little harder than it actually is.
Thanks, Chef Dennis. That makes sense. I wanted to be sure.
Jacqueline - The Dusty Baker
I love Mama Jeanette stories. This recipes looks delicious, as always, and raspberries and chocolate – always yum!
I like that you swapped the maraschino cherries with raspberries! And rum and orange are such a nice combo…this dish looks delicious!
These are amazing and I’ve been inspired to feature them in my Friday Food Fetish roundup. And I’ll be sharing on Pinterest. Please let me know if you have any objections and KEEP IT COMING!
no objections, thanks very much for sharing my Zuppa Inglese!
oo very pretty! i think the raspberries were a good choice…maraschino cherries are delicious, but there’s something a little unsettling about it too! 🙂
Lora ~ cakeduchess
Maybe if it was the right wine you may be inclined to dip!lol. I never thought I would and then in Sicily one year, I couldn’t resist. was amazing. Your zuppa inglese looks wonderful. I’m sure flavor was great even w/out the delicious Alchermes:)another fun #recipeswap !
I think I never had Zuppa Inglese. I will have to fix that after seeing your delicious dessert!
I love, love, love Tiramisu’ and I have your recipe bookmarked for some future use when the holiday pounds miraculously disappear:) But your Zuppa Inglese looks divine! Beautiful photos, as usual!
Happy New Year, Dennis! Here is to another great one ahead:)
BTW, your URL in the linky thing links to your Gingerbread House post (WOW!)
I love all the childhood memories this swap ignited. This is a great remake!
I love that this one comes with such a personal story. I’ve not had zuppa inglese but it is now on my list of things to try. You realize half those things come from your blog. Lol! It does look gorgeous and I have to save I usually prefer the individual dishes over one big dish. It is just somehow prettier and more personal. Love the pop of red. Wonderful job Chef Dennis!
A beautifully written post, Chef Dennis! Loved reading every word of it!
What a sweet coincidence to run into someone who knew exactly what you wanted and for what purpose.
And the dessert looks great. I bet Mama Jeanette would be very proud!
In Katrina's Kitchen
That is the sweetest story and also of the man at the liquor counter!
This is not my mama’s chocolate pudding. It looks waaaay better!
I remember eating this as a kid… gloppy, too sweet and kind of wet in an unpleasant way since I think it had been sitting around a very long time… sort of forgot about it till now. This looks sooo good. What a difference a good recipe makes!