Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tuscan Zuppa Inglese Dessert

Zuppa Inglese , is an Italian dessert  with a variety of composition it should not come as a surprise that many regions of Italy claim to be its progenitor. The so-called classic Zuppa Inglese includes layers of Pan di Spagna or lady finger, soaked in Alkermes liqueur and alternated layers of simple custard (crema pasticciera)
According to an unproven tradition, it was created in Ferrara, a town near Bologna, during the 16th century, at the Court of the Lords of Este. 
 According to a Tuscan gastronome, zuppa inglese instead was born in the hills surrounding Florence, “invented” by a maid working for an English family. It was a way to recycle the left over biscuits used for tea or Port. 
These variations were rather common and, in fact, in Italy there are  different versions of the sweet. In theory every cook can invent a variation In Naples they substitute the custard with ricotta cheese 

Approx. 120g sponge (lady) fingers
1 glass alkermes (or kasis or red kirsch)
6 egg yolks
6 spoonfuls of sugar
5 spoonfuls of flour
1 spoonful of potato starch
1l of milk
1 vanilla bean
100 gr. bitter cooking chocolate
Boil the milk, flavoured with the vanilla.
Beat the egg yolks to a froth with the sugar. Add the flour and the starch.  
Then add the boiled milk, taking the vanilla bean out. 
Let the mixture thicken over a low heat, mixing continuously, until you have a cream

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
Divide the cream into two bowls. Add the melted cooking chocolate to half of the cream.
 Leave the creams to cool. 

Pour a glass of alkermes in a  bowl and add a glass of water. 
Place a layer of sponge fingers soaked in alkermes in a glass bowl and cover with a layer of the yellow cream. 

Place another layer of sponge fingers soaked in alkermes on top and cover with the chocolate cream. Decorate as you please. Place the dessert in the refrigerator, in the least cold part.

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