Zuppa Inglese

Zuppa Inglese is an Italian dessert that layers custard and sponge cake or cookies — resembling a trifle.  This version is a very retro dessert that my favourite aunt, Lisa, taught me how to make when I was a little girl.  My aunt’s birthday is coming up so I decided to share this recipe on my blog in honour of her!  The great thing about this recipe is that it is a no-bake dessert that requires only a few simple ingredients, and you can make it ahead of time. The original version of this recipe uses just straight-up Vermouth to dip the cookies, but that was a little too boozy for me so I’ve diluted the wine with simple syrup.  If you want a trifle with more punch, you can certainly skip the simple syrup and use one cup of Vermouth instead.  Happy Birthday, Zizi Lisa!


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Vermouth or sweet Marsala wine
  • 1 90g package instant vanilla pudding, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 90g package instant chocolate pudding, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 350g package Social Tea cookies
  • cocoa powder or powdered sugar, for sprinkling.


  1. Prepare the simple syrup: bring the water to a boil and add the sugar, cooking until the sugar is dissolved.  Cool syrup completely.
  2. Stir the Vermouth into the simple syrup.
  3. Dip the cookies into the simple syrup mixture and line the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish with a layer of cookies.
  4. Spread about 1/2 of the vanilla pudding on top of the cookie layer.  Repeat the process, using chocolate pudding this time.  Continue with the cookie layers and the alternating chocolate and vanilla pudding layers, ending with a layer of pudding.
  5. Cover the trifle with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
  6. Sprinkle with a little cocoa powder or powdered sugar just before serving.


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