Italian Desserts That Start With Z

From creamy and rich to fruity and refreshing, these Italian desserts that start with Z are steeped in culinary traditions and can be found across the country, each with its own unique regional twist.

1. Zabaione

Zabaione, also known as zabaglione, is a traditional Italian dessert that is often served as a light and frothy dessert beverage. It is typically made using egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet wine, with Marsala being the most commonly used wine variety. The ingredients are whisked together and then heated in a double boiler until they reach a thick and creamy consistency. The mixture is then removed from the heat and allowed to cool before being served chilled in small glasses or cups. Zabaione is a popular dessert in Italy, and it is often served as a sweet ending to a meal or as a special treat on holidays and special occasions.

2. Zeppole

Zeppole is a popular Italian dessert that consists of small fried dough balls that are typically served plain or filled with custard or jelly, and then topped with powdered sugar. These treats are often enjoyed during special occasions such as holidays and festivals in Italy. Zeppole can be made with a variety of different doughs, but the most common dough is made from flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, and milk. The dough is shaped into small balls and then fried until golden brown. Once the zeppole have cooled, they are filled with a sweet filling, such as custard or jelly, and then dusted with powdered sugar.

While zeppole is a traditional Italian dessert, it is also popular in other countries, such as Portugal, where it is known as “sonhos” and is often filled with a sweet egg cream. In the United States, zeppole are often enjoyed during Italian festivals and fairs and are sometimes referred to as “Italian doughnuts.” Regardless of where they are enjoyed, zeppole are a delicious and beloved dessert that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

3. Zuccotto

Zuccotto is a semi-frozen, chilled dessert that originates from Florence, Italy. It is made using a combination of alchermes, a bright red liqueur made from cinnamon, cloves, and other spices, along with cake and ice cream. The dessert is typically served in a dome-shaped mold and garnished with fresh fruit or nuts. The cake is usually soaked in the liqueur before being assembled with the ice cream, creating a creamy and refreshing dessert that is perfect for warmer weather. Zuccotto is a classic Italian dessert that is often enjoyed during the summer months, and it is a popular choice for special occasions and celebrations.

4. Zuppa Inglese

Zuppa Inglese is a popular Italian dessert that layers custard and sponge cake, typically flavored with rum or Alchermes liqueur. The dessert is similar to English trifle and is a popular choice for special occasions such as Christmas and Easter. The sponge cake is typically soaked in a sweet liqueur or syrup, such as Alchermes or Maraschino, before being layered with the custard. The dessert is then topped with whipped cream and garnished with chocolate shavings or fresh fruit. Zuppa Inglese is a beloved dessert in Italy, and it is often served as a sweet ending to a meal or as a special treat for holidays and celebrations.

5. Zelten

Zelten is a traditional Italian fruitcake that’s typically enjoyed during the Christmas season. The cake is made with a mix of dried fruits (such as figs, raisins, and dates), nuts (such as almonds and hazelnuts), and spices (such as cinnamon and cloves), which are folded into a yeast-based dough. The cake is then baked until golden and brushed with a mixture of honey and brandy or rum. Zelten originated in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy, which has a strong tradition of Christmas baking. It’s often served alongside other festive treats, such as panettone and pandoro.



Simon is a food lover and passionate home cook with a talent for creating delicious, healthy meals. When he's not in the kitchen, he enjoys exploring new restaurants, cuisines, trying out new ingredients, and sharing his love of food with others. Simon has always been fascinated by the art of cooking and the ways in which food can nourish both the body and the soul.
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