Zabaglione is a 3-ingredient custard-like Italian Christmas dessert. Serve it with cookies, fresh berries, or add it to tiramisu'!
The authentic Zabaglione or zabaione recipe is one of the easiest desserts you can find out there.
Made with just three ingredients in equal amounts, this favorite Italian Christmas dessert has a rich flavor, a custard-like texture and it's SO versatile.
you can serve it with cookies such as savoiardi (ladyfingers) and amaretti, or fruit such as strawberries, peaches, and raspberries.
You can also turn it into ice cream, or use it in place of whipped cream to make a classic Tiramisu'.
WHAT IS ZABAGLIONE?
Zabaione or zabaglione (pronunciation: zah-buh-yoh-nee), also called zabajone or sabayon, is a famous custard-like Italian dessert cream, made with egg yolks, sugar, and sweet wine (usually Marsala or vin santo).
There are many stories about the origin of zabaione, the most famous being the below two.
In Piedmont, back in the 16th century, it was called Sambayon, in honor of Saint Pasquale de Baylon, who supposedly recommended a drink made with egg yolk, sugar, and marsala, to the ladies in Turin.
The ladies would then give it to their husbands as an energy-boosting drink.
In Emilia-Romagna, on the other hand, it is claimed to have been named, in 1471, after the captain Giovanni Baglioni.
As he asked his troops to forage some food, they came back with eggs, honey, and wine, which combined made a restoring drink.
ZABAGLIONE VS EGGNOG
The main difference between zabaglione and eggnog is that eggnog is a dairy-based drink made with egg, milk, nutmeg, and sugar, with whisky or brandy often added in.
Zabaglione is made with egg yolks, sugar and Marsala wine (or another dessert wine) and does not contain any dairy products.
Zabaglione is a classic Italian dessert made with just three simple ingredients.
- Eggs: use fresh medium-sized eggs.
- Sugar: use regular caster sugar or raw white cane sugar. For a more caramelized flavour, you can use light brown sugar.
- Wine: use dry Marsala wine for the most authentic flavor. Alternatively, you can use Vin Santo ( a Tuscan dessert wine), limoncello, Madeira wine, Sherry or Porto.
Did you know? Eggshells were the traditional measuring method for zabaione, so the recipe would call for 4 egg yolks, 4 half shells of sugar, and 4 half shells of Marsala wine.
You need the most basic kitchen tools to make this custard-like dessert at home:
- Hand mixer: you can whip the eggs and sugar mixture by hand or use a hand mixer if you like.
- Bowl: Opt for a copper bowl (best for conducting heat evenly) or for a heatproof glass bowl, I used a Pyrex heat-proof bowl.
- Saucepan: The pot you choose for the water bath should fit comfortably about ⅔ of your bowl.
- Whisk: Use a medium-sized or large-sized balloon whisk, it will make your zabaione fluffy and airy.
HOW TO MAKE ZABAGLIONE
Here below is the step-by-step process to make the best zabaglione at home!
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light, fluffy and airy, about 4 minutes.
Tip: Don't throw the egg whites away, you can use them to make amaretti cookies, ricciarelli almond cookies, caprese cake or coconut macaroons.
STEP 2. Bring a pot of water to a simmer. Place the bowl over the pot, add Marsala into the egg mixture and whisk until combined.
STEP 3. Whisk the zabaione constantly until it thickens, about 10-15 minutes.
STEP 4. Use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature, zabaglione is ready when it reaches 82 C/179 F, or when it reaches a custard-like consistency.
Pour your homemade zabaglione into dessert glasses and serve immediately.
If you'd like to serve it cold, place the bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice and cold water, and whisk gently until it's completely cool.
Zabaglione can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Store cooled zabaione in an airtight container, it will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Serve zabaglione warm or cold in dessert glasses, and top with fresh berries or with ladyfinger cookies or or crunchy amaretti cookies.
You can serve zabaione cream over a slice of ciambellone cake (a classic Italian bundt cake), lemon ricotta cake, clementine cake, or Italian chocolate cake.
I also like to use zabaione to make traditional tiramisu'. Simply replace the whipped cream with the same amount of zabaglione, it truly makes the best tiramisu' you'll ever make.
And if you're looking for more Italian Christmas dessert recipes, check out these Italian butter cookies, classic ricotta cookies, chocolate salami, or try this showstopping Pandoro Christmas cake.
TIPS FOR THE BEST ZABAIONE
- You can use a whisk or an electric hand mixer for whipping the eggs and sugar.
- Always use a whisk during the cooking process, do not use an electric hand mixer.
- Make sure the water doesn't boil but simmers during the bain-marie cooking process.
- If you use a stainless steel bowl, make sure the bowl doesn't touch the simmering water.
- If you use a heat-proof glass bowl, the bowl can barely touch the simmering water, without the risk of overcooking the mixture.
No, although it's recommended, you don't need to use Marsala to make zabaione. You can use any dessert wine you have on hand, or try it with limoncello or even champagne.
I recommend serving zabaione immediately or within 24 hours. I do not recommend freezing zabaglione.
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and tag @thepetitecook!
Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
Zabaglione - Authentic Zabaione Cream
- 4 medium-sized egg yolks
- 4 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoon Marsala wine
- In a large heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt, until light, fluffy and airy, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch water) and gradually whisk in the Marsala wine.
- Whisk the zabaione constantly and vigourously until it thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature, the zabaglione is ready when it reaches 82°C/179°F, or (if you don't have a thermometer) when it reaches a custard-like consistency.
- Pour your zabaglione into dessert glasses and serve immediately.
- If you'd like to serve it cold, place the bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice and cold water, and whisk gently until it's completely cool.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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