It is possibly Italian in origin, but may also be derived from the trifle or tipsy cake, popular British desserts. To make Zuppa Inglese, wedges of sponge cake or delicate cookies such as ladyfingers are dipped in sweet wine or light liqueur, then layered with whipped cream, diced candied fruit, and chopped bittersweet chocolate. It is also a popular Gelato flavor.
"The name translates literally in Italian as English soup and may in fact connote its similarity to English trifle. Others believe it is a dialectical corruption of the verb inzuppare, meaning to sop."— Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink, John Mariani [Broadway Books:New York] 1998 (p. 286)
"A dessert invented by Neapolitan pastrycooks of Europe during the 19th century [sic]. Inspired by English puddings that were fashionalbe [sic] at the time, . . . "— Larousse Gastromique, Completely Updated and Revised [Clarkson Potter:New York] 2001 (p. 1310)
"A dukedom, a country palace, and this rich dessert were among the many tributes bestowed on Lord Nelson by the grateful Neapolitans after his victory over Napoleon in the Nile in 1798. "English Soup," as it was called, was the creation of an anonymous pastry cook smitten with the admiral, the English, and their spirit-soaked Trifles." — The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking through the Ages, American Heritage [Doubleday:New York] 1968 (p. 710)
NEW NAME, OLD PUD ; `I Believe That in Italy "Zuppa Inglese" Is Their Term for Trifle. I Haven't Tried "Zuppa Inglese", but I Am Not Convinced They Mean Kindly by It'
Jan 01, 2003; Not very long ago, I saw an episode of The Simpsons in which quite an interesting linguistic point was made. The whole family had...