Zuppa Inglese Della Nonna

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“This delicious light dessert is very similar to tiramisù but it is based on lighter ingredients. Grandama prepared this often after heavy meals, we always enjoyed it as my children too. Sometimes she prepared this with alkermes, but usually she preferred the coffee version. This is her original recipe.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 8 ounces savoy biscuits (Savoiardi, substitute one sponge cake, your preferred one)
  • Vanilla cream (Crema pasticciera)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 ounces sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 lemon, peel only greated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 4 cups milk, boiling
  • Syrup
  • 12 cup espresso coffee (alternative 1/4 cup alkermes with 1/4 cup water 1 teaspoon sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons maraschino cherries (or one tablespoon amaretto)
  • 1 tablespoon Amaretto (add 1 tablespoon nocino if you have)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Topping
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (optional or other topping as desired)


  1. In a pot wish together very well egg yolks, sugar and corn flour until light.
  2. Add lemon zest and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Add boiling milk.
  4. Now heat, stirring, until it barely reaches a boil, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring gently. Remove the pot from the fire. Don’t overheat this in order to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot (I make this step in the microwave stopping several times to stir the cream).
  5. Set aside until cold or slightly lukewarm.
  6. Now prepare the Syrup mixing well in a flat bowl all the ingredients until sugar melts.
  7. In a nice bowl (big enoght for everything) spread 1 third of the cream.
  8. Turn the savoiardi in the Syup.
  9. Tranfer on the firs layer of cream. If you use the sponge cake; lay the half of the cake on the cream and spoon over this the half of the syrup.
  10. Cover gently with second third of the cream.
  11. Repat the step with the savoiardi (or sponge cake) and spoon the rest of the syrup over these.
  12. Cover with the remaing cream.
  13. Top with the siewed cocoa powder.
  14. Refrigerate at least 5 hours and enjoy.
  15. Note 1: If you don’t want to use alcohol, you could use some sweet syrup as grenadine. Or a mixture of water, sugar and some drops almond flavor.
  16. Note 2: What is alkermes? Read
  17. Note 3: What is maraschino? Read
  18. Note 4: What is nocino? Read

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