Zabaione, Zabaglione, Zabajone or Sabayon. However you choose to call it, the fact remains, that this has got to be one of the most delicate, frothy Italian desserts around. Pronounced tsah-bahl-YOH-nay, this dessert comes in several variations. There is a frozen version or a lighter version with whipped egg whites, or even flavored versions with chocolate or honey. This version however is the authentic one, the way I learned how to make it, while training at the Sheraton pastry kitchen.
Zabaione is a simple Italian dessert made with egg yolks, sugar and marsala wine and often served warm. These are the three main ingredients that make up a traditional zabaione. At times cream or mascarpone cheese might be added to give it a thicker, creamier consistency. Zabaione is basically a light custard type dish, made by whipping the egg yolks to incorporate large volumes of air, over a warm water bath. The classic version of the zabaione uses raw eggs, however nowadays it is preferred to prepare the dessert over a water bath or a double boiler.
Legend has it that this dessert was created by accident sometime in the 17th Century, when a chef from Turin accidentally tipped a bottle of sweet wine into an egg custard. Today, Sicilian Marsala wine has become the sweet wine of choice when preparing zabaione. Although it is similar to a custard, officially it is a caudle, which in the 16th century used to be a warm drink consisting of wine mixed with sugar, eggs, bread and spices.
It is difficult to define zabaione as it can be used for so many things. Serving it on its own, zabaione is a gorgeous light, but incredibly rich and delectable cream. Together with seasonal fruit it makes an exquisite dessert. Zabaione can also be used to fill tarts and pies or in the summer it can be used to make ice-cream.
There are several different recipes for this dessert. You'll find some with additional flavorings others will use an entirely different method. This recipe is the basic and easiest method of making zabaione. If you have not made this dessert before, you won't be able to go wrong with this recipe.
Tips & Tricks For A Perfect Zabaione
- In big hotel/restaurant kitchens zabaione is often made in copper bowls. These bowls provide a chemical reaction between the copper and eggs, which increases the stability and structure of the foam. If you do not have a copper bowl at home, use a stainless-steel bowl instead. It still makes a terrific and creamy zabaione.
- Whisking is the main motion here. I recommend a simple balloon whisk either out out of stainless-steel or one made of silicone like I use. It's a simple utensil but I swear it's one of my most precious pieces in the kitchen For making zabaione it provides for the perfect fluffy consistency of the cream.
- Instead of a double boiler, use a heatproof bowl over a saucepan filled with simmering water. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl, otherwise this may cause the eggs to scramble.
- For beginners it is advisable to keep the water to a bare simmer. This will take a little longer whisking the zabaione to a creamy froth, but it is also safer as you'll avoid scrambling the eggs at a higher heat.
- Whisk constantly in a rotating figure-8 pattern. Make sure you make contact with all the inner surfaces of the bowl. In this case, speed is not important but actually making contact with the surfaces is vital.
My zabaione is dressed for Fall! I serve it with heavenly brandied plums dripping with gorgeous red-purple sweet syrup. The cinnamon flavored plums complements the creamy and sweet zabaione so well that you'd think they were always meant to be.
Plums are the current featured fruit in my Food Guide. You'll find several helpful and useful tips on storing, selecting and preparing these juicy fruits.
Printable version of recipe here.
The brandied plums
10-15 soft ripe plums, halved, pitted and then quartered
2 tablespoons Muscovado sugar
3-4 tablespoons brandy
1 cinnamon stick
4 large organic eggs yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet Sicilian Marsala
The brandied plums
Place a small skillet over a medium heat. Add the plums, sugar, cinnamon stick and brandy and about 2 teaspoons water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until the fruit softens and begin to release their juices. Remove from heat and spoon into 4 individual glasses or serving bowls. Chill in the refrigerator.The Zabaione
Fill a saucepan halfway with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Regulate the heat as required to maintain a gentle and constant simmer as you prepare the zabaione.
Place the egg yolks in a round-bottomed stainless-steel (or copper) bowl, which rests comfortably when placed on top of the saucepan.
Whisk the egg yolks with a balloon whisk until they turn pale yellow. Add the sugar , then the Marsala and continue to whisk until incorporated.
Rest the bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure that the water does not touch the underside of the bowl. Constantly whisk the mixture using the figure-8 pattern, until it is foamy and has tripled in volume. The mixture will eventually become soft and creamy - approx. 15 minutes. The consistency is just right when the mixture forms thick ribbons when the whisk is lifted.
Be sure to whisk the entire inner surface of the bowl, clearing the bottom of the bowl with the whisk so that the eggs do not stick to the bottom.
If the mixture starts to separate just remove from heat and transfer to the countertop, whisking all the while.
Zabaione should have the texture of lightly whipped cream. It should be light in texture, yet thick enough to coat a spoon.
Immediately pour the zabaione over the plums. Garnish with a few sugared plums and a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.
Pure bliss! This is such an elegant and delicate dessert, which really creates a WOW! effect. The light sweet cream combines so well with the fruity sweetness of the plums, it's almost ethereal. As the warm creamy zabaione meets the cool brandied plums, heaven is created - in your mouth. I love making zabaione when I have spontaneous drop-in guests, then after a light dinner of bread, a variety of cheeses and salad, I will whisk up this simple zabaione with a fruity compote or caramelized fruit using what ever I have. Pears, apples, berries all make great accompaniments to zabaoine.
Dear Abby is celebrating World Egg Day and she asked us to come on over with a dish showing how versatile, delicious and fun eggs are. Abby you know you can count on me for dessert ;-)!
Have a great weekend folks! If you'd like to do a little food reading, besides several posts you might find here ;-) check out my latest article for FoodieView: Greeting Fall with Root Vegetables & Pumpkins!
You might like these recipes using eggs from WFLH:
|Bostini Cream Pie|
|Poached Eggs with asparagus and sauce hollandaise|
|Wasabi Egg Rolls|
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Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:
- Meditation by Dee
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