Picture of Zuppa Inglese - Italian Trifle
Zuppa Inglese - Italian Trifle - Cucina Hess 4. Photography: Anatoly Michaello

Zuppa Inglese – Italian Trifle

Chef Tamar Cohen-Zedek calls this Italian trifle "the bratty brother of tiramisu", because it is more colorful, fruitier, and lighter.

In the introduction to this recipe, which appears in the book “The Italian Kitchen: From the Tastes of the Jews of Italy”, Edda Servi Machlin says that the name for this dish is spot on – “English soup”. It is so called (“Zuppa Inglese”) because of its resemblance to the trifle, an English dessert. She says that this trifle was served on Shabbat during her childhood. Saturday was a day that was dedicated, as was local custom in her native community, to visiting relatives and neighbors, the elderly and the sick.

Chef Tamar Cohen-Zedek calls this dessert “the bratty brother of tiramisu”, because it is more colorful, fruitier, and lighter. Cohen-Zedek altered the syrup slightly: made here from Campari and the syrup from preserved Amarena cherries. Don’t roll your eyes – you can totally make it raspberry syrup based, which is more appropriate for kids. The sponge cake can be replaced with biscotti if you are in a hurry.

The dessert is fairly easy to make, just make sure you set aside time for it to cool, preferably overnight. Serve in a 7-8 inch (18-20 cm) serving dish, preferably glass. To make the sponge cake, you will need a round mold with a diameter of about 8 inches (20 cm).

Ingredients for Trifle

For the Cake

  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1 cup (200 grams) Sugar
  • pinch Salt
  • ½ cup (70 grams) self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup (30 grams) potato flour
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) orange juice Freshly squeezed, if available
  • grated orange peel from one orange

For the Pastry Cream

  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (125 grams) Sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon (45 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 ⅔ cup (400 ml) milk
  • ½ cup less 2 tablespoon (100 ml) sweet cream
  • 1.75 oz (50 grams) dark chocolate chopped

For the Syrup

  • ½ cup (120 ml) Campari
  • ½ cup (120 ml) Amarena cherries syrup from the can

For Garnish

  • 5 oz (140 grams) raspberries about 1 container
  • Cocoa Powder good quality


Prepare the Cake:

  • 1. Heat the oven to 355 degrees F (180C). Grease an 8 inch (20 cm) diameter cake pan.

  • 2. Beat the separated egg whites with half the amount of sugar and a pinch of salt until stiff.

  • 3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until light and slightly increased in volume.

  • 4. Add the self-raising flour, potato flour, orange juice, and grated orange peel to the egg yolk mixture and fold until incorporated.

  • 5. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in 3-4 batches until uniform. Transfer the batter to the greased pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out moist but clean. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the Pastry Cream:

  • 6. Place sugar in a small bowl. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out into the sugar. Reserve the empty pod.  

  • 7. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the cornflour and gently mix until uniform.

  • 8. Pour milk and sweet cream into a small pot, add the emptied vanilla bean pod and heat over a low flame to just boiling.

  • 9. Slowly ladle about 2-3 ladlefuls of the milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Stir to incorporate, then slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the pot. Continue to cook over a low flame, stirring constantly, until the cream is thickened.  

  • 10. Remove about a third of the cream mixture and place in a separate bowl. Add the chopped chocolate (while it is still hot). Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated into the cream.

Prepare the Syrup:

  • 11. Mix the syrup ingredients together in a wide, low-lipped or flat bowl.

Assemble, Chill, and Serve:

  • 12. Slice the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Dip a layer of cake into the syrup, place it in the serving dish and spread half of the amount of pastry cream (the white) on it. Dip another layer of cake in syrup and place on top of pastry cream. Spread all the chocolate pastry cream on it. Place another layer of cake dipped in syrup and top it with the rest of the vanilla cream. Arrange the raspberries on top and sprinkle with sifted cocoa powder. Transfer to the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight, before serving.  

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This dish is from the “Meals from the Books” Festival. For more information, in Hebrew, click here.


*שמנו לב שחסרים כמה פרטים קטנים להשלמת הפרופיל שלך ב־FOODISH, אפשר להוסיף אותם בקלות בעמוד המשתמש שלך.