Zabaione – Easy and Delicious Italian Dessert

Zabaione (or Zabaglione), also known as Sabayon… However you say it, is there anything better? If you’ve never tried this rich and creamy, yet light, and airy Italian dessert, you’re in for a real treat! If you have tried it, yet never made it at home, you will be surprised at how quick and easy it is to make. Using just 3 ingredients (2 of which you likely already have at home), and a few kitchen utensils, you are that much closer to making your very own Zabaione! It is hard to describe this dessert, but if I had to, I would explain this as a boozy cross between a frothy beverage and a creamy custard. It is so versatile as well, you can literally eat it with a spoon, mix it into coffee, serve on top of cake or ice cream, over your favourite fruits, such as berries (which I did), using cookies to dip into, like Savoiardi (Italian lady fingers), mixed into whipped cream, or even inside Tiramisu (which I often do)… The combinations are endless! Using just egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet dessert wine, and whipping this mixture over a double broiler, you have Zabaione! In Italy, most Italians will use a dessert wine of their region, yet the most popular to use in this classic dessert is Marsala wine. That is what I always use because the specific taste of the Marsala is so characteristically Zabaione to me. You can use any Marsala, but the Sperone Cremovo is my personal favourite, as the wine itself already contains yolks and sugar (further reinforcing that Zabaione taste). The smell of this sweet wine alone, to me, is exactly what Zabaione tastes like. I just can’t get enough of it. Maybe I’m talking a bit too much, let’s get to the good stuff..

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The best part about this recipe is that it is a 1:1 recipe, meaning if you are using 1 egg yolk, you will need 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of wine. Easy right? I love recipes like this because it is so easy to double, triple, quadruple.. You get the point. When I make this, I find about 1 yolk per person to be a great quantity, but of course it depends on what exactly you are making this for (not to mention who you are making it for). If I make this for my boyfriend and I, I usually go with 3 (because he of course needs extra Zabaione)! If you follow me on YouTube (LaDolceLisa), I made Zabaione over there, here is the exact recipe featured in my video:

3 egg yolks (I tend to use large eggs)
3 Tablespoons of Sugar (I used organic cane sugar, but you can use regular caster sugar)
3 Tablespoons of Marsala Wine (I used Sperone Cremovo)

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Fill a pot with water, going only about  1/3 of the way up. We are using the double broiler method, so we will be placing our bowl on top of the water, and using the heat from the water to lightly cook our mix. You want the water to be on a medium to low heat.
While the water is getting warmed up…

In a large metal bowl (or glass), you want to add the ingredients; egg yolks, sugar, and wine, right into the bowl. Be sure that the bowl is larger than the pot of water, because we do not want the bottom of the bowl to be touching the water, we are just cooking with the steam. Using a whisk, you want to lightly whip this eggy mix for a few seconds to incorporate all of the ingredients before introducing this mixture to the pot of water.

The water should lightly simmer, but not completely boil. If you find it gets too hot, lower the heat (or if your mix is already on the heat and you find it gets too hot, you can remove your bowl from the heat on occasion – you can keep taking your bowl on and off the water bath here), as long as you never stop mixing. We do not want scrambled eggs, just a nice thick and frothy mixture that is evenly cooked. Incorporating air into this Zabaione mixture is key, so use those arm muscles and mix! (If the bowl gets too hot to handle during the whipping process, your water is likely too hot, or your bowl is too small). You will want to mix, whip, and also scrape the side of the bowl the entire time. You could even use a handheld electric mixer, but I prefer to just use a simple whisk. If you are using my exact recipe, I find it takes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes of (intense) whipping over this double broiler. If you of course make a larger batch of Zabaione you will likely need to whip for longer, just keep an eye on it (and try to enjoy this arm workout). One this mixture turns to a pale yellow colour and doubles or even triples in size, and becomes thick and lightly frothy, you are basically done. To see what it should look like, or how I did this, please watch my video HERE. After I remove this bowl of Zabaione from the double broiler pot, I usually give it another quick whip for a minute or so off the heat. You can then spoon the Zabaione directly onto your dessert of choice, or add it to a sauce boat and pour it over your treat of choice.

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Once you are done the hard part, you can then enjoy! I served this Zabaione over some mixed berries for a beautiful spring/summer dessert that is quick and simple to prepare. Often many Italians will resort to making this dessert a quick last minute recipe, as most ingredients are already found at home, and it is so versatile. I find Zabaione to be great on just about everything as I mentioned earlier, even a rich chocolate cake, or pancakes! However you enjoy this, you really can’t go wrong.

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Here is the Zabaione spooned onto a slice of rich Chocolate Cake that I made ^

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Here is the Zabaione poured onto a Dutch Baby Pancake that I made ^

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Finally, here is the Zabaione spooned onto a Stone Fruit Cobbler, made by yours truly ^

I hope you enjoyed this easy (and as you can see versatile) recipe, and please let me know if you decide to give it a go. Whatever you pour it onto, you will not be disappointed! Don’t forget to check out this recipe in action on my YouTube page, I made a video dedicated to Zabaione, and I even taste it on camera. You can watch the video HERE.

– Lisa
(@LaDolceLisa) on Instagram and YouTube

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