Champagne and strawberries are a timeless pairing, synonymous with special occasions—whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or hosting Mother’s Day brunch. And while you might think the combination can’t get any better, Food & Wine senior food editor Mary-Frances Heck came up with a way to even further elevate the dish, and it involves the boozy Italian custard sauce known as zabaglione. Heck’s Champagne-glazed strawberries recipe (from F&W Cooks) takes a Champagne zabaglione and pours it over fresh macerated strawberries, which are then popped under the broiler so a crust forms on top. It’s all ready in under half an hour, although it’ll look like you’ve been working all afternoon—Heck says “one bite, and you will be a believer.”
You can find tips for making the perfect Champagne-glazed strawberries below; or, save the recipe for your next big night.
Cut the strawberries carefully
When you’re cutting the strawberries, Heck says to cut off the least amount possible as you remove the greenery and stems. Once that’s done, you want to cut them cleanly in half.
Always use a copper bowl
Heck says you always need to use a copper bowl when making zabaglione. The metal allows the custard to cook a little bit faster, and become light and fluffy.
Add a pinch of salt
Once you’ve separated the egg yolks and put them in the bowl, add a little salt, which will keep them from overcooking.
After adding the Champagne into the zabaglione, it’s time to cook it over the double boiler. You’ll need to whisk it constantly for 8 to 9 minutes, but Heck says “be strong, it’s worth it.” After all, the double boiler causes it to triple in volume, making it light and warm—so it’s pretty important, texture-wise.
Look out for the ribbon
You’ll know your zabaglione is done cooking when you lift your whisk and a small ribbon of custard comes up as you lower it back to the surface.
Broil and enjoy
The final step puts the zabaglione-covered strawberries under the broiler for two-three minutes to form a nice crust on top—the end result? Light, fluffy, custard all over fresh spring strawberries. (Yes, please.)