Part 2… of Chianti, Marsala, Moscato, oh my!
Last week’s post featured peaches poached in Chianti and marinated in Moscato. Just when we thought life couldn’t get much better… along comes Zabaglione.
Sometimes called zabaione, the best part of this amazing creamy dessert is Marsala, the fortified wine from Sicily. I recommend having a little taste of the Marsala before making the zabaglione so you can experience the full flavor of this wine.
Like so many Italian dishes, zabaglione is easy to prepare and has just a few ingredients – three to be exact. Somehow during the cooking process and the alchemy, magic happens. This elegant and simple cream elevates your dolce course to heavenly. You can hear angels singing while you make it and after you take your first bite. Okay, hyperbole aside, suffice to say, zabaglione will rock your world.
Notes to the cook:
Even though at first glance this looks like a super easy recipe, (and it is!), here are a few secrets to success. First, make sure to have everything mise en place (French for “in its place”). If you plan to serve the dessert right away (recommended) have your fruit prepared and serving dishes ready.
I prefer to use an electric mixer for each stage, but a whisk is a viable option. The downside to whisking is that there is a lot of it, but if you have good stirring chops, you will be fine.
To prep the fruit: Whether you are using strawberries, cherries, peaches or nectarines, cut them into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle with a few spoonfuls of sugar. Stir and set in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving. The sugar brings out the flavors of the fruit and creates a nice syrup that complements the zabaglione.
Using egg yolks
I have seen many versions of zabaglione and a few mention the dangers of using egg yolks. I like to be very careful when using eggs, so I’ll either buy pasteurized eggs or take the extra precaution of heating the mixture to 160 degrees F, using a instant-read thermometer. This is easy because the mixture will heat to 160 F during the cooking process, but I like to be extra sure and have peace of mind while enjoying this elegant dessert.
Elegant, rich cream perfect to top summer fruit or serve alone.
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup Marsala Dry or other dry white wine
- a few sprigs of fresh mint
- In a heat-proof bowl, combine yolks and sugar and beat for about 3 minutes until pale yellow in color and glossy. Use an electric beater or whisk by hand if feeling energetic. Then, whisk in the Marsala.
- Fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a gentle boil. Place the heat proof bowl with egg/wine mixture on top of the pot and begin to beat. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not contact the water directly. This works like a double boiler. By placing the bowl on top of the pot of boiling water, you can heat the egg mixture without setting it directly on the flame.
- Continue to beat with electric beaters (or whisk) for 10 minutes over the boiling water. The mixing process adds air and lightness to the zabaglione. As mixing continues, the mixture will grow a bit in size and get frothy. Place an instant-read thermometer in the mixture to make sure it reaches 160 degrees F during the cooking process.
- Remove from heat and spoon zabaglione over your prepared fruit and top with a few leaves of fresh mint.
Zabaglione is also fabulous on top of ice cream or even just by itself.
Another option for elegance:
Place your prepared fruit in small ramekins. Top with freshly made zabaglione and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. This will create a nice brown color and a bit of toasted flavor. So delicious!
Three-inch ramekins toasted under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Buon appetito!