Zuppa inglese

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Zuppa inglese
3 Zuppa inglese.jpg
A slice of zuppa inglese (Italy, 2019)
Place of originItaly
Region or stateEmilia-Romagna, Marche, Toscana, Lazio, Northern Campania, Umbria
Serving temperatureCold
Main ingredientsSponge cake or savoiardi, Alchermes, custard

Zuppa inglese (/ˈzpə ɪŋˈɡlz, ˈ(t)s-/, Italian: [ˈdzuppa iŋˈɡleːze, ˈtsuppa iŋˈɡleːse]; Italian for "English soup") is an Italian dessert layering custard and sponge cake, perhaps derived from trifle.


To make zuppa inglese, either sponge cake or ladyfingers are dipped in Alchermes, a bright red, extremely aromatic Italian herb liqueur. They are then alternated with layers of crema pasticciera, a thick egg custard cooked with a large piece of lemon zest (removed afterwards). Often, a layer of crema al cioccolato is created by dissolving dark chocolate in a plain crema pasticciera. In Italy it is occasionally topped with cream, meringue or almonds.[1]


Zuppa inglese is also a popular gelato flavor.[2]


The origins of zuppa inglese are uncertain. One theory states that it originated in the sixteenth-century kitchens of the Dukes of Este, the rulers of Ferrara. According to this story, they asked their cooks to recreate the sumptuous "English trifle" they had enjoyed in England at the Elizabethan court, where they were frequent visitors.[1] However, no recipes for the dish are recorded before the late nineteenth century, when it appears in cookbooks from Emilia-Romagna, Latium, Marches and Umbria.[3][4]


The word zuppa ("soup") in Italian cuisine refers to both sweet and savory dishes. It has a derivative in the verb inzuppare which means "to dunk"; as the sponge cake or ladyfingers are dipped in liqueur, the dish is called zuppa. Similarly, thick bean with vegetable stews, and fish or shellfish stews are properly described as zuppa di verdure and zuppa di pesce, respectively.

There are other theories as to the origin of the name:[5]

The name translates literally in Italian as English soup and may in fact connote its similarity to English trifle. Others believe it is a dialectical corruption of the verb inzuppare, meaning to sop.[6]

A dessert invented by Neapolitan pastrycooks of Europe during the 19th century. Inspired by English puddings that were fashionable at the time, ...[7]

This rich dessert was among the many tributes bestowed on Lord Nelson by the grateful Neapolitans after his victory over Napoleon in the Nile in 1798. "English Soup", as it was called, was the creation of an anonymous pastry cook smitten with the admiral, the English, and their spirit-soaked Trifles.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Zuppa Inglese (Traditional Italian Pudding)". Academia Barilla. Retrieved 28 May 2016. Zuppa inglese was made for the first time in the 16th century for Dukes of Este, residing in Ferrara. Legend has it that the dessert was created by the court chefs when a diplomat from Ferrara asked for a trifle, a typical British dessert made with a sweet ring cake, cream and wine, after returning from a trip to England.
  2. ^ "Gelato Zuppa Inglese". Gelato in casa. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  3. ^ La Cucina del Bel Paese (883-885). La cucina del Bel Paese
  4. ^ Gladys Gretton, The Englishwoman in Italy, Hurst and Blackett, 1860 (page 163).
  5. ^ Olver, Lynne. "FAQs: charlotte to millet". The Food Timeline. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  6. ^ Mariani, John. Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink. New York: Broadway Books, 1998 (p. 286)
  7. ^ Larousse Gastronomique, Completely Updated and Revised. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2001 (p. 1310)
  8. ^ American Heritage. The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking through the Ages, New York: Doubleday, 1968 (p. 710)