Zuppa Inglese

This curious Italian name, making you think of soup, is in fact a good old fashioned English trifle, far removed from the sort of thing you used to get in the nursery. The Italians took it to their hearts and have loved it ever since.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 40g/oz plain flour, sifted
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 600ml/1 pint milk
  • 150ml/¼ pint Marsala
  • 1 sponge cake, sliced crosswise into three layers
  • 85g/3oz chocolate, grated


Put egg yolks in a bowl, gradually add sugar and vanilla essence, cream well, add flour, pinch of salt and 150ml/¼ pint milk. Boil remaining milk, pour on to the mixture in the bowl, stir well and return to the saucepan. Simmer gently, stirring constantly for about 3–4 minutes. Pour a third of the mixture into a bowl, add 55g/2oz of grated chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted. Leave both mixtures to cool.

Place a layer of sponge cake on a serving dish, sprinkle with Marsala and cover with a layer of plain custard. Add another layer of sponge, more Marsala and cover with the chocolate custard. Add the last layer bf sponge, sprinkle with Marsala and cover with the remaining plain custard. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate over the custard.