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slice of zuppa inglese (crema) on plate with fuschia ribbon underneath it

Zuppa Inglese (Crema)

This simple dessert consists of a pastry cream layered with cookies and is definitely comfort food!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Sicilian-Italian
Keyword cookies and cream, Sicilian crema, crema e biscotti
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 302kcal


  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 inch piece of lemon rind
  • 2 tsp colored crystal sugar sprinkles
  • 1 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 18 tea cookies may vary depending on size of cookies
  • 1 cup brewed espresso coffee cooled
  • 1 tbsp Marsala or rum (optional)
  • Cinnamon or cocoa powder for dusting


  • In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, add milk, cornstarch, sugar and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Add lemon rind.
  • Place on the burner on medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower to a simmer and stir until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and remove the lemon rind.
  • Divide the mixture evenly in two bowls.
  • Add sugar sprinkles to one bowl and stir until dissolved.
  • Add chocolate chips to the other bowl and stir until melted
  • Place cooled espresso coffee and Marsala (if using) in a wide shallow bowl. Cover the surface of a 9 inch round or square baking dish with cookies dipped in the coffee mixture. Break cookies to fit corners if necessary.
  • Spread chocolate cream over the cookies and smooth it out with a spatula.
  • Place another layer of cookies dipped in coffee over the cream and spread the remaining bowl of cream over the cookies. Sprinkle with cinnamon or cocoa powder, if desired.
  • Let rest in the refrigerator at least 4 hours before serving


  • Make a basic pastry cream with eggs (crema pasticciera) instead of the pudding like cream in this recipe.
  • Low fat milk may be substitued however whole milk is preferable in this recipe.
  • Use sponge cake or a different variety of cookies such as savoiardi (as used in tiramisu) instead of tea cookies
  • Vary the color of your cream with different colored sugar crystals.
  • Zuppa inglese can be topped with cocoa powder, grated dark chocolate or even finely chopped nuts.
  • Keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.
  • Please note that the nutritional information is approximate may vary according to exact ingredients used and portion size.


Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 210mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 217IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 153mg | Iron: 1mg