Amo zabaglione! I love making zabaglione! It’s just so delightfully simple and straightforward and the end product is just spectacular.
Basically, zabaglione is just a simple custard, but instead of using milk or cream you add a sweet Italian wine, Marsala, to the eggs and sugar. Maybe you’ve heard of sabayon? It’s basically the same as zabaglione, but instead of the Sicilian Marsala wine a sweet French wine is used, like a Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. However, the process remains the same and you could really use any sweet wine you like.
As I had Marsala lying around (it is also great for making tiramisu) my boozy custard became a zabaglione!
I have to tell you, I just love saying zabaglione. When I’m making this dessert, I simply can’t stop saying it, telling myself that I have a great Italian accent (even though the Italians would probably think I’m just another wacky wannabe).
Oh well… as long as it makes me happy and it doesn’t drive my boyfriend crazy…
Anyway… When I first made zabaglione, I was afraid of scrambling the eggs and because I was so worried to overcook the custard I took the mixture off the heat before it had properly thickened. However, I didn’t realize this until my ‘zabaglione’ split into a layer of Marsala and egg froth in the fridge. In other words, I will not warn you to not overcook the custard. Just make sure to at least cook your custard long enough without worrying too much about it scrambling. You’ll know when it’s done.
Just start by gently whisking some yolks, sugar and Marsala together in the bowl of a double boiler.
Keep whisking… The mixture will start to foam… And just like that the mixture will thicken into a custard! Like I said, you’ll know when it’s done.
Once the custard has thickened you have made zabaglione! A smooth, velvety, beautiful za-ba-gli-o-ne!
You can serve the zabaglione as a hot sauce over some fruit, but I prefer to mix it with softly whipped cream and chill it in the fridge before serving.
Traditionally, it is served with crispy cookies, such as ladyfingers or biscotti. However, as I was enjoying a soft serve with a praline crunch topping at the local swimming pool the other day, I thought that the praline crunch would be a great addition to the smoothness of the custard.
And I was right!
Where I live, praline crunch is widely available in supermarkets, as it is an immensely popular soft serve topping throughout Western Europe. However, if you can’t get your hands on some, you must definitely bake up a small batch of chattyheads and crumble them over the top of the zabaglione!
They’re even better than the praline crunch!
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
- 3 tablespooons Marsala wine or another kind of sweet wine
- 80ml (or ⅓ cup) whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (for the cream)
- praline crunch or smashed chattyheads
- Make the zabaglione:
- Start by faking a double boiler by placing a small, heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl (check out the 'Basics' section of this site for details).
- In the bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and Marsala wine. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens into a custard. You have now made zabaglione.
- NOTE: the yolks in the custard can scramble if the custard is heated too much, so take the custard off the heat as soon as it has thickened.
- You can serve the zabaglione warm (as a sauce) over some fruit, or cold. To serve it cold, use a rubber spatula to scrape the custard into another bowl and stop it from cooking. Whisk it to beat some of the heat out.
- In another bowl, combine the whipping cream and sugar and whisk (you can use the same whisk you used for the zabaglione, as long as it is not too warm) until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the zabaglione and spoon the mixture into tall glasses. Cover the glasses tightly with plastic wrap and leave to set in the fridge for at least three hours.
- Sprinkle with praline crunch or smashed chattyheads.