Showing posts with label rum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rum. Show all posts

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Sweets - Zuppa Inglese

*Updated with US measurements

Even though this dessert is called Zuppa Inglese  (Italian for English Soup), it did not originate in England but it is an Italian dessert typical of the Emilia Romagna and Tuscany Regions.  It is a sponge cake layered in custard and soaked in Alchermes and Rum. I made this tonight as we had some guests over and it was gone in a flash.

Why is it called English Soup? Well, legend has it that it originated in the 16th century when the Dukes of Ferrara tried to replicate the English trifle that they had tasted in England where they were frequent visitors of the Elizabethan court.

It really isn't that difficult to make because it consists only of sponge cake and crema pasticcera or egg custard in English so it is important to get these two steps right.

Ingredients for the sponge cake:

- 100 grams of sugar
- 100 grams of flour
- 3 eggs

-  ½ cup of granulated sugar
-   4/5 cup of all-purpose flour
-  3 eggs

Make the sponge cake. Begin by first mixing the eggs with the sugar. Beat well and then SLOWLY add the sifted flour a little bit at a time. Do not beat on high speed but rather beat at a low speed and once you see bubbles start to form in the mixture, it is ready. 

This procedure takes time, be patient with it because if you notice there is no baking powder or baking soda (just sugar, eggs and flour) and if you don't take your time with it, the sponge cake will not rise well during cooking.

You can see the bubbles form while mixing below. This tells us that it is ready.

 Transfer it to an 18cm (7 inch) buttered and floured baking pan and bake in a preheated oven at 190° Celsius (375° F) for 20 minutes. DO NOT open the oven until the full 20 minutes have passed.

The sponge cake is ready when you see it detach from the sides of the pan.

Cut it in slices as pictured below and let cool.

In a separate bowl add 10 tablespoons of Alchermes and 10 tablespoons of water.  In another bowl add 10 tablespoons of rum and 10 of water. Once cooled, soak half of the slices of sponge cake in the Alchermes solution and the other half in the rum and set aside.

Now we can make the custard.

Ingredients for egg custard:

- 500 ml of whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 100 grams of white granulated sugar
- 50 grams of all purpose flour
- zest from 1 orange

-  2 cups of milk
-  4 medium egg yolks
-  ½ cup of granulated sugar
-  ½ cup of sifted flour
-  Zest from 1 medium sized orange

This procedure is a bit tricky.  Heat the milk and orange zest and bring to a boil. 

Meanwhile in a separate pot beat the yolks with the sugar making sure to beat well for a good 5 minutes and then add the sifted flour to the mix little at a time. 

Without placing the pot over the heat add the boiling milk stirring continuously and once everything is blended well add to stove and heat on low. Continue mixing never leaving it unattended until the custard becomes dense. It is important that you whisk the custard in the same direction the entire time.

Once it looks like this and is nice and thick, it is ready. In a glass dish add the sponge cake dipped in Alchermes and cover in a layer of custard. Then add the remaining sponge cake dipped in the rum solution and cover everything with another layer of custard.

You can decorate the top with whatever your heart desires. Many top with cocoa powder, some with almonds or whipped cream. I used redcurrant berries that go very well with this dessert in my opinion and then added some powdered sugar.


This was my first time making this and it was heavenly! It's a great dessert that you can make ahead of time because you can just cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for a couple hours before serving.  It will be gone before you know it...I can assure you. At least that's what happened tonight at our house!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Sweets - Rum Babà Cake

I will start by saying that I am so proud of myself for making this exquisite dessert. If you have never had one it will probably look like a simple bundt cake but it is much more than that. It is a yeast cake with a batter similar to a brioches but much richer. It takes a lot of time to make because it must be left to rise for a couple hours but it is so worth it in the end. The cake itself is not very sweet but once baked it is left to soak in an aromatic rum syrup which contains the majority of the sugar so the syrup is necessary for the cake's sweetness. 

A typical Rum Baba is an individual serving dessert but sometimes it is made in a larger form using a bundt pan. 

It was originally a French dessert that was later brought to Naples, Italy by French cooks becoming a Neapolitan specialty. 

As I said before, the recipe is not that easy but if I can do it anyone can! You just have to follow the recipe and have patience with it. If I had to describe the taste, I would say it is a very soft, fluffy cake similar to an angel cake but not as sweet. The rum syrup with orange and lemon aromas added to it make it sweeter and intensify the delicate taste of the cake. It is usually decorated either with pastry cream or whipped cream and topped with cherries. 

Ingredients for the cake: 

- 300 grams of Manitoba flour
- 4 eggs
- 100 ml of milk
- 100 grams of butter
- 25 grams of activated yeast
- 50 grams of white sugar
- a pinch of salt

Ingredients for the rum syrup:

- 500 ml of water
- 450 grams of sugar
- 300 ml of rum
- peel from 1 lemon
- peel from 1 orange

To decorate: 

- whipped cream
- cherries

Begin by melting the butter and once cooled a bit add the milk. Melt the activated yeast in the milk and butter. 

In your mixing bowl beat the eggs and sugar and add the butter and milk. 

Slowly add the flour and a pinch of salt and continue mixing. 

Your batter should look like this: 

This is the trickier part. Take the bowl and as it is cover in a clean cotton kitchen towel and the wrap the whole thing in a wool blanket. The batter must be kept warm for it to rise. I'm sure there are other methods to do this but this is the method that works like a charm and gives you a beautifully risen batter that is necessary for the baba to turn out right. 

So cover with a clean cotton kitchen towel and wrap in a warm blanket. 

Make sure it is sitting upright and leave it sit for one and a half hours. 

Once the time has passed uncover it gently and it should have risen three times in size. It should look like this: 

Isn't that amazing ?!?

Now with a spoon stir it a little bit and it will deflate. No worries, it's supposed to do that :-) 

Now add it to your bundt pan that you have buttered previously.

Cover the pan with only the cotton towel and let it sit for 20 minutes.

 It will rise again after the 20 minutes and should look like this:

Now bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.

In the meantime make the syrup. 

Heat the water, sugar, lemon and orange peels until the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool in a bowl and once cooled add the rum and remove the peels.

Remove the cake from the oven and from the pan. Let it cool on a plate.  

Once it is cooled let it soak in the rum for about a minute. I soaked mine face down. 

Make sure it is coated well and put back on plate. Now you can add more rum syrup if you want with a spoon. 

And last but definitely not least, decorate to your liking :-) and enjoy! Buona Domenica or Happy Sunday <3