Torta (Zuppa) Inglese



Mix the cocoa and instant coffee together with a little hot water. The consistency should be "runny" but not watery. Next take the Marsala (I use Port, the real dish, Marsala) and pour it into a wide dish. Beat the cream until it is able to "stand on its own" (you take the spoon out but the indentation remains!) Using the lady fingers, find a serving dish that is deep enough to hold at least 3 biscuits stacked on top of each other. Now use the following steps, repeating until you have two (2) layers of biscuits in the bowl:

  1. Dip the biscuit into the alcohol first, just covering but not soaking them to make them "soggy".
  2. Line the bottom of the dish...don't worry if the biscuits leave holes and don't cover the bottom 100 %.
  3. Spoon some of the beaten cream on top of the biscuits.
  4. "Splash" some of the coffee/cocoa mixture on top of the cream -- should look like the tide has gone out at the beach!
  5. Repeat steps 1 thru 4 until you have two layers of biscuits.
Now to finish, pour the rest of the cream and coffee/cocoa mixture on top. Take a fork and using the tines, drag the fork across the top. It will then look like freshly plowed earth.

At this stage, I sometimes grate ordinary chocolate all over the top of the dish. Place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, overnight is best! For children, you may omit the alcohol and use the juice that comes from a tin of peaches and you coul d add the peaches to the top of the biscuits.

Comments: My history of Italy is very sketchy, however, as I remember, there were the Greeks, then came the Romans, then the Greeks again with the Arberesh, and in between there was the Spanish/French connections -- who fought with the British (English)...

The story behind this recipe is that it was called Torta Inglese or Zuppa Inglese because it was a concoction made up by a Neapolitan chef for Lady Emma Hamilton. She was with Nelson (I think?) on the Bay of Naples. Legend has it that she was an alcohol ic -- a taste of the Torta Inglese will show you why a lover of alcoholic drinks would especially like this recipe. It is liberally laced with Marsala.

Only one ingredient in my recipe is different from the original ... I don't use Marscapone cheese. Enjoy!

Submitted by: Josephine Tedesco


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