I learned how to make zabaglione, a northern Italian specialty, while attending culinary school the Piedmonte region.
Zabaglione is a simple and quick dessert that is absolutely delicious. It is basically a delicate sauce of foamed egg yolks, sugar, and wine.
It is a wonderful accompaniment to summertime berries, as well as juicy fruits and figs.
The yolks are whipped vigorously as they cook in a double boiler over simmering water until a dense, thick foam develops. Whipping allows the incorporation of air, which creates the smooth, silky sauce that is the signature style to this kind of whipped egg-based dessert.
Marsala is the most popular wine added when making this dish, but originally this was not the case. In Piedmonte, it was traditionally made with Moscato d’ Asti, a sparkling wine.
Asti, located in the Piedmonte region, is an area world renown for its wine production. Moscato d’Asti production here is big business and is held in high esteem. It’s no surprise that it would find its way into this dessert
When I studied in Asti, I was taught to make zabaglione with Moscato d’ Asti. In nearby France, zabaglione is made often with their very own sparkling wine, champagne.If ever you find yourself in Piedmonte, remember to try the zabaglione. It may or may not have been invented here, but it was most definitely perfected in Piedmonte.
The recipe for a zabaglione couldn’t be any simpler. It is a simple ratio of ingredients. The way I was taught to remember the ratio to this dessert was: 1+2+2+1
Tip: 1 egg yolk + 2 egg shells of sugar + 2 egg shells of wine + 1 egg-shell of water (optional).
When whipped together using proper techniques it produces a delicious and divine foam like custard. The trick to this recipe is to whisk the ingredients vigorously over a double boiler, or with the expert use of a “zabaglione pan.”
Zabaglione & Summertime Berries
- Egg yolks – 5 large (preferably at room temp)
- Sugar – 1/3 cup
- Marsala 1/3 cup (dry or sweet it’s a personal choice)
- Berries – 5-1/4 cups mixed berries of your liking.
- Clean and wash the berries.
- Combine the egg yolks, sugar and Marsala in a bowl.
- Whip with a balloon whisk, over a double boiler until the mixture becomes pale yellow in color, doubles in volume and can hold a stiff peak.
- Technically the internal temperature of the zabaglione should reach 165°F, to ensure that the eggs have cooked. If you constantly beat the eggs over the double boiler until a stiff peak is reached, the eggs should be cooked enough. Use an instant thermometer to be sure.
- Cool slightly and serve immediately or transfer the zabaglione to a container. Cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
- Place the berries in a serving bowl. Top with a nice dollop of the zabaglione and serve immediately.
* Zabaglione is best served warm or at room temperature.