• Cooking Time:
  • Servings: 8
  • Preparation Time:


This is my take on the Italian take on English trifle, which I have pared down by removing the day-glo colored liqueurs and odd schlumpy custards that have made this nearly inedible in many lesser trattorie all over Italy.


  • 3 ¼ cups whole milk
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ¾ ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 24 small savoiardi (Italian ladyfingers)
  • ¼ cup limoncello or other sweet citrus liqueur


  • Preparations
  • 1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk and lemon zest.
  • Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and add the seeds and bean to the pan.
  • Bring a very brisk simmer over medium-high heat; do not allow to boil.
  • 2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, flour, and sugar and whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon when the whisk is lifted from the bowl.
  • Gradually pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
  • Return the mixture back to the saucepan along with the remaining milk and cook over high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the pastry cream coats the back of the spoon. Remove the vanilla bean.
  • Pour half the cream into a stainless steel bowl and set in an ice bath to cool.
  • Stir the cocoa and chocolate into the remaining pastry cream, making sure that the chocolate is completely melted.
  • Then pour the chocolate cream into another bowl and set over an ice bath to cool.
  • Whisk the creams occasionally as they cool.
  • 3. Split each ladyfinger in half.
  • Sprinkle the cut sides with the liqueur.
  • Place a layer of the soaked ladyfingers in a large glass serving bowl.
  • Top with a layer of the vanilla pastry cream, another layer of ladyfingers, and a layer of the chocolate cream; repeat the layering until all ingredients are used.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
  • Makes 8 servings
  • 2005 Mario Batali from Molto Italiano

Categories: Dairy  Dessert  Misc. Dessert  Snack  Sweet 

Author Credit: Mario Batali

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