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There are as many variations on zabaglione, the boozy Italian custard sauce, as there are ways to enjoy it. The dead-simple recipe—in which egg yolks, sugar, and wine are beaten vigorously over low heat to create a sweet dessert—can be made with any wine you like, depending on what you plan to pair it with. The balance of egg yolks, wine, and sugar in our recipe is based on the traditional master ratio: For each yolk, you would use half an eggshell full of sugar and half an eggshell full of wine. Use Marsala for the most classic flavor, then experiment with other wines to your taste.
1. Beat yolks in a heat- proof bowl (preferably copper) until combined. Add sugar and salt, whisking constantly, until combined.
Pour wine into yolk mixture, and whisk until sugar is dissolved, about 30 seconds.
Heat mixture over a saucepan of barely simmering water, whisking vigorously to incorporate air into mixture.
Whisk until custard is warm, tripled in volume, and dragging the whisk across it leaves a ribbon on the surface, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve immediately, or whisk over an ice bath until cooled.
Choose a wine for zabaglione based on how you plan to serve it; the custard can be made with sparkling wine or stiffened with a splash of good-quality limoncello, sweet rum, or kirsch. Here are three variations we love—and delicious ways to serve them.
Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, and line with plastic wrap. Sprinkle bottom of pan with 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds. Fold cooled Marsala zabaglione with 3 cups whipped heavy cream and 1/2 cup chocolate shavings; scrape into loaf pan, cover, and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours. To serve, invert onto a plate, and slice.
Make a Champagne zabaglione, increasing the granulated sugar, if desired. Arrange a single layer of macer- ated strawberries in the bottom of a crème brûlée dish, and top with enough zabaglione to cover (about 1/3 cup). Broil on high 3 to 4 inches from heat until zabaglione is bubbly and browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Moscato Mascarpone Cream
For a stabilized zabaglione that can be kept chilled for a few hours before serving, we took tips from chefs Jody Williams and Rita Sodi of New York City’s Via Carota. Let mascarpone come to room temperature, and stir until creamy with no lumps. Fold with an equal part cooled Moscato d’Asti zabaglione.