Zuppa Inglese Or Zuppa Ferrarese


300 grams of lady finger biscuits ("Savoiardi") (10 and a half ounces or as many as fit in
a vanilla pod (optional, but makes it special)
a glass (cup) each of water and Alchermes liqueur
(or substitute a liqueur of your choice or a diluted strawbe
optional sour cherry or sharp apricot jam


Set aside 100 ml (0.4 of a cup) of milk. Heat the rest with the sugar and the scraped out vanilla seeds till it comes to the boil.
Meanwhile, place the 5 yolks in a bowl and whisk them with the sifted flour, then still whisking, add the cold 100ml of milk gradually.
When the remaining milk has come to the boil and all the sugar is dissolved, add it gradually to the yolks while still whisking. Then place everything in the pan in which you boiled the milk and return to a moderate heat for about 10 minutes to thicken.
Whisk constantly and whisking patiently on low heat to bring the mixture almost to boiling point so that it thickens - the very fine bubbles on the surface will disappear when it is ready. Snatch it off the heat, and transfer to a cool bowl as soon as possible, as it can continue to cook and so curdle, .
Divide in two thirds and one third by pouring into two separate bowls - there is no need to be precise here. Add the chocolate, broken into bits, to the smaller amount and mix to melt the chocolate and blend well. Leave to cool.
Mix the water and Alchermes* together. Dip the lady fingers lightly in the liquid, and use make a layer at the bottom of one large or several small glass bowls. Place with the pink side facing the outside, so it is visible through the glass.
Now add a layer of the chocolate custard and if you wish carefully top with a very thin layer of sour cherry or apricot jam, dropping teaspoonfuls at regular intervals as it is impossible to spread the jam over the soft custard with a knife or spoon. If you like you can reserve some of the chocolate custard and place it in a piping bag or squeegee bottle to use for decorating the top.
Finish with a deeper layer of plain custard.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. For special occasions you could further garnish with one or more of whole sour cherries in syrup, grated chocolate and toasted flaked almonds.




The story goes that it originated sometime in the course of the 1500s in the kitchens of the rulers of Ferrara at the time, the Dukes of the Este family.




Sunday, May 30, 2010 - 1:22pm

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