Zabaglione is a classic Italian custard made with egg yolks, sugar and flavored with Marsala, a fortified wine that adds an immeasurable depth of flavor. Spoon it over fresh figs or berries, serve it alongside Amaretti, Biscotti or Savoiardi biscuits (aka ladyfingers), drizzle it over a chocolate flourless cake, or forget about plating it altogether and eat it by the spoonful warm from the bowl! Zabaglione is a delicious, simple, elegant dessert, and once you learn the technique, you can whip it up in a matter of minutes.
The debates continue about the origins, with Tuscany, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna all laying claim. In Tuscany, it is said to have originated and been wildly popular within the court of Caterina de’Medici; in Piedmont, it is was said to have been invented by the Franciscan monks to enhance men’s vigor and is referred to as Sambayon, to honor Saint Pasquale Baylon; and in Emilia-Romagna is believed to have been invented by Giovanni Baglioni, (Zuan Bajòun, in dialect), which was then abbreviated to Zabaglione. The jury’s out on this one and I don’t think they’re ever coming back, so however it happened, I’m just glad it did!
A few tips:
This recipe calls for dry Marsala wine, but if you have sweet Marsala on hand, I would suggest reducing the amount of added sugar.
If you don’t have a double boiler, you can create your own by nestling a mixing bowl into a pot filled with an inch of simmering water. If you use this technique, be aware that the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. The steam from the simmering water will be enough to heat the mixture.
Keep the water to a simmer when heating the Zabaglione in the double boiler or the mixture may curdle.
To begin, bring one inch of water to a boil over high heat and then reduce it to a simmer.
Then, using a whisk or a hand mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar in a heat proof bowl until the mixture thickens and turns pale yellow in color.
Add the Marsala wine and salt and whisk until it is well combined. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water to create a double boiler and whisk the mixture until it is warm, increases in volume, and holds a ribbon on the surface, about 7-10 minutes.
When it’s ready, it should look li\ke this.
Zabaglione can be served hot or cold. Enjoy!
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dry marsala wine
- 1/8 tspn salt
- Bring one inch of water to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer.
- Using a whisk or a hand mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar in a heat proof bowl until the mixture thickens and turns pale yellow in color.
- Add Marsala and salt to the mixture and whisk until it is well combined. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water to create a double boiler and whisk the mixture until it is warm, increases in volume, and holds a ribbon on the surface, about 7-10 minutes.
- Serve hot or cold.