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Italian Trifle (Zuppa Inglese)

This recipe comes from the Italy's most beloved cookbook, The Silver Spoon, in print in Italy since 1950 under the name Il cucchiaio d'argento. Mangia bene!


  • scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • mixed candied fruit
  • chocolate chips or fresh berries




Reserve 1 cup of the confectioner's custard. Mix the cochineal with 1 tablespoon water in a shallow dish. Mix the rum with 1 tablespoon water in another shallow dish. Arrange a layer of sponge cake on the base of a broad glass dish, sprinkle with the cochineal mixture and pour on a layer of confectioner's custard. Make another layer of sponge cake, sprinkle with the rum and pour on another layer of confectioner's custard. Continue making alternating layers, ending with a layer of sponge cake. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let stand for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stiffly whip the cream. Spread the reserved confectioner's custard on top of the last layer of sponge cake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the whipped cream and use to decorate the trifle, then add candied fruit and chocolate chips or fresh berries.

Serves: 6

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Recipes extracted from The Silver Spoon, £24.95 / €39.95 / $39.95, 2005, published by Phaidon Press Ltd

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