I’m back! This blog is not gonna be a “one-entry wonder.” Really trying to stick with this one…yes I have created and abandoned blogs in the past, but I’m a changed person, I swear!!
Anyway, onto the post…
Zabaglione is one of my favorite Italian desserts. And as one of Italian extract and a lover of sweets, I’m pretty passionate about my dolci! I almost always order zabaglione when I’m at an Italian restaurant (unless I get cannoli, which is my most favorite).
For those of you who have never had zabaglione (pronounced zaam-bal-e-yone-aye), it is a light custard flavored with Marsala wine. It can be made thin, and used as a sauce, sort of like a crème anglaise. I prefer it as more of a custard/mousse that you can just eat on its own, like with berries, amaretti cookies, or pizelles. It is also a popular ice cream flavor in South America and you can also find it in gelato shops throughout Italy.
One of my hopes with this blog is that I will use it as motivation for getting me to make things that I love eating but for whatever reason, have never tried to make for myself. Zabaglione fulfills these requirements, so I figured it would be a great 2nd entry for this blog.
Zabaglione is a pretty basic food. It isn’t composed of a complex assortment of ingredients. Nonetheless, there are many different recipes floating around. There were a few I liked, and a few I didn’t. For instance, one recipe required brandy. I don’t have anything against brandy, but I really didn’t feel like I wanted anything getting in the way of the flavor of the Marsala wine.
Food Stuff You’ll Need:
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup Marsala wine
- Grated peel of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1. Bring about half (or a little less) a pot of water to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce heat to low to bring the water down to a simmer.
2. Next, get out your eggs and separate the eggs from the yolks. You can do this a number of ways. I use a small egg separator made by Pampered Chef. It looks a lot like this:
All you have to do it crack the egg inside the separator and the egg whites drip out of the sides of the separator. And if you are worried about what to do with 6 egg whites, you can use them to make amaretti cookies to go with the zabaglione. If that’s too much work, you can do what I did and cook them up in a pan and have them for dinner! They are low in calories and high in protein, so they will compliment you fitness regime!
Okay, back to the recipe…
3. Get your lemon and wash it with some soap and water. It’s just for good measure, you know, to kill any germs that could give you some terrible illness that could land you on an episode of Mystery Diagnosis. I mean, I’m not a huge germa-phobe, but it’s easy enough to wash a lemon.
Then get your grated and skin that fruit! Make sure you don’t grate past the white (the pith), because it has no flavor. And WARNING, it’s a total bitch to get the lemon zest from the grater!! Ugh, seriously, why hasn’t Pampered Chef invented a device to remove crap from graters??
4. Place egg yolks, sugar, grated lemon peel, and vanilla extract in a large stainless steel bowl, preferably something that with rest nicely in your pot of water without touching the pot’s bottom. You don’t want the water to touch the bowl, as it would be too much heat for cooking the custard.
5. Whisk the custard mixture, making sure that the water does not boil. This ensures even heating and will prevent the mixture from curdling (which once happened to me when I was making caramel and it was so horrible and depressing I don’t even want to talk about it!!). Whisking also traps air, helping to create a light and fluffy texture.
In the picture below, you can see the whisked mixture. I also had to sort of hold the bowl above the pot because the bowl sunk too low when nestled in the pot. Next time I will for sure use a smaller pot to boil the water, my hand sort of got tired and the steam from the pot was a bit hot.
5. Continue whisking while gradually adding the Marsala wine. This is a KEY INGREDIANT, as the Marsala is the prominent flavor of this custard. And it’s fine for all ages, as what little alcohol content there is cooks off completely in the cooking process.
6. Continue whisking for about 10 minutes until mixture triples in volume and gets frothy. In the picture below, you can see how the wine has darkened the egg mixture, and how it is beginning to froth.
This was also the point in cooking this custard that I began to carefully monitor the heat of the stove. The water would start to boil, and I’d have to quickly lower the temperature to get it back to a simmer, then the simmer would die and I’d have to boost the temperature again…back and forth, etc etc…
8. When it reaches the desired consistency, take the bowl of custard out of the water pot. Continue whisking for a minute or two to prevent sticking. Set aside for 15 minutes.
9. At this point the zabaglione was about the consistency of a dessert sauce, and if that is what you wanted to have, then you’d stop here. But I really wanted a proper custardy mousse pudding, so I…
Got a cup of heavy cream/whipping cream and put it in a bowl.
Then I whipped it at top speed with my trusty egg beaters until soft peaks formed.
Note: You MUST stop whipping the cream when it forms these peaks/begins to solidify, if you don’t it will turn into BUTTER.
10. Add whipped cream to cooled custard and gently fold together. I emphasize “gently” because you want to ensure your zabaglione retains it’s light and fluffy texture. The gentle folding motion helps the custard retain air and keeps it from falling flat.
Pictured below, you can see how much lighter in color the custard becomes after the cream has been added.
11. Now your zabaglione is finished, and you can find some charming dishes in which to serve it to your friends and family! It looks lovely decorated with fresh berries, and the fruit makes it healthy right? I also had some pizelles laying about in the cupboard, so I used those for garnish as well. Didn’t have any amaretti handy…
With berries in a small carnival glass dish. OMFG god do I love carnival glass!!
This one with the pizelle and strawberry sort of looked like a peacock to me, and I tried to put a blueberry
on the strawberry to give it a head, but it didn’t really translated well and I had nothing to make a beak…
Here is a full shot of the zabaglione in a champagne glass. Or some type of glass. I’m terrible at identifying
drinking glasses, all I know is I’ve sipped champagne out of this glass.
Zabaglione for two!!
So this was a big hit! I loved it and so did my family, who’s reactions while eating I observed.
The texture was very light and smooth. It wasn’t overly sweet, so even those who don’t have much of a sweet tooth would not be put off by this dessert. The berries went well with it, and their sweetness was a great compliment. I can only imagine how great the crunch of an amaretti cookie would taste with it! The pizelles were a good substitute though.
I would not change anything about this recipe and would certainly make it again. Perhaps next time I make this I’ll make it with vanilla paste instead of extract though, as you get those lovely specs of vanilla when you use the paste. Even better…AN ACTUAL VANILLA BEAN!! OOFFA! That would be TOO GOOD.
Ciao 4 now!
The Hopeful Hestia