Sunday, January 23, 2011


If you're a fan of custards and puddings, then I recommend you try this sweet home made Italian dessert. Zabaglione (pronounced zah-bah-yone) is made of three basic ingredients: sugar, egg yolk and Marsala wine. Whipped heavy cream can also be used, as well as flavorings such as grated lemon peel, ground cinnamon and vanilla extract. You'll need a double boiler, or a stainless steel bowl on top of, but not touching, simmering water. After just 10 minutes of continuous whisking (yes, you have to put some effort into this recipe), you end up with a sweet, creamy, delicious treat that can be served as a topping for fresh berries, cakes, cookies or figs. Add a few minutes to the cooking/whisking time and you'll get a terrific mousse-like consistency. Either way, you can not go wrong.

I first heard about this dessert a few months back. After doing some research on the web, I found a variety of recipes. All use the same basic ingredients (egg yolk, sugar, Marsala wine). I really liked the exrta flavor that was added to this particular recipe that I found here.

(courtesy of

6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup Marsala wine
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Ground cinnamon
Vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Strawberries, raspberries, or biscotti

Place egg yolks, and sugar in a large, round-bottomed stainless steel bowl. Add grated lemon peel and a pinch of cinnamon and a drop of vanilla extract to the yolk mixture. Pour in the Marsala wine. You can use sweet Vermouth as a substitute for the Marsala.

Half-fill a pot with water, bring the water to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Set the pan or bowl containing the custard mixture over the water; the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Whisk the custard mixture, making sure that the water does not boil. This ensures that a gentle, even heat thickens the mixture without curdling it. Whisking traps air in the yolks for a light, fluffy mixture.

Continue whisking for about 10 minutes, until the mixture triples in volume, froths up and becomes pale. When it reaches the desired consistency, take the container of custard out of the pot. Slightly thickened, the custard can be used as a sauce. Longer cooking will thicken the custard further, giving it the texture of mousse. Continue whisking for a minute or two to prevent the custard from sticking to its container.

Serve the custard while still warm, or, if you want to serve it cool, set it aside for about 15 minutes. Whisk heavy cream until it forms soft peaks; add the whipped cream to the cooled custard and use a whisk to gently fold them together. Reserve some of the whipped cream to serve on top.

Ladle the zabaglione into individual dishes. Serve with whipped cream, berries, and/or cookies such as biscotti.

Serves 6.


pamelacaballes said...

is it ok to make this without the wine? I'm making this for my group in 7th grade.

Dominic Condo said...

All of the zabaglione recipes that I have come across call for either Marsala wine or a sweet liqueur. I've also read that espresso works well, but I doubt if you would want to serve that to 7th graders either. How about a sweet juice, maybe a white grape juice? Good luck and let me know how it turns out for you!