Italian Zabaglione Recipe

Homemade Italian ZabaglioneTraditional Italian Zabaglione Dessert
(Source: ©cathy-yeulet/123RF)

Here's a traditional Italian zabaglione recipe to make the classy Italian dessert called sabayon by the French, but its true Italian name is "zabaglione" or "zabaione." It's thought to have originated in Turin sometime during the early 1500s. Regardless or its origin, it's totally delicious!

Italian Zabaglione Recipe

Italian Cooking (1900)

There is a school of thought that dictates "serve hot or cold," but this to most Italian palates is heresy — always serve your zabaione HOT.

Zabaglione

Castor Sugar

In the USA substitute Super Fine sugar, a.k.a. Bar Sugar. In Canada use Super Fine or Berry Sugar. These sugars are finely ground yet not powdered like icing sugars.

When talking of sweets in the Italian menu, this airy-fairy refinement of egg punch is the one that springs first to the mind, and it is worthwhile knowing how to make it to perfection.

For each serving allow 2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons castor sugar, and 2 tablespoons of Marsala, or failing this, of good Sherry. Vanilla may be added, if liked, but for my taste the dish is better without it.

Beat together the egg yolks and sugar until they are pale and creamy, then slowly add the Marsala. Place the mixture over hot water in a double boiler, and stir slowly until it thickens, taking care not to overcook it; otherwise, it will curdle. Serve immediately in warmed sherbet glasses.

Easy Italian Zabaglione Recipe

The Italian Cook Book (1919)

Easy Zabaglione

Yolks of three eggs; granulated sugar, two ounces; Marsala or sherry wine, five tablespoonfuls; a dash of cinnamon.

First stir with the ladle the yolks and the sugar until they become almost white, then add the wine.

When ready to serve, place the saucepan in another one containing hot water and beat until the sugar is melted and the egg begins to thicken.

Traditional Italian Zabaglione

The Cook's Decameron (1905)

Zabaglione Dessert

Zabaglione is a kind of syllabub. It is made with Marsala and Maraschino, or Marsala and yellow Chartreuse.

Ingredients: Eggs, sugar, Marsala, Maraschino, or other light-colored liqueur, sponge fingers.

The traditional quantities as follows:

For each person the yolks of three eggs, one teaspoonful of castor sugar to each egg, and a wineglass of wine and liqueur mixed. Whip up the yolks of the eggs with the sugar, then gradually add the wine.

Put this in a bain-marie (double boiler), over low heat, and stir until it has thickened to the consistency of a custard. Take care, however, that it does not boil.

Serve hot in custard glasses, and with hand sponge fingers.

Antique Bain-Marie IllustrationAntique Bain-Marie
(Source: Don Bell)

About the Italian Zabaglione Recipes

Modern Italian Zabaglione DessertModern Zabaglione with Almonds, Cherry Sauce and Gelato
(Source: ©vision.si/Depositphotos.com)

Italians have modernized their zabaglione by adding fruit, nuts, flavored sauces, and gelato. It makes a terrific base for a wonderful flavor creation.

However, the traditional version is made simply with egg yolks, white granulated sugar, and Marsala wine. Some cooks make it with a little maraschino liqueur.

Zabaglione is really an egg custard that has been whipped to make it very light and sweetened. So basic! So delicious!

The Method Used by Italian Chefs

The secret to preparing a good zabaglione is to use a double boiler and to barely simmer the egg mixture until it thickens to a light custard. If you overcook it, it can turn out with an unpleasant scrambled egg consistency.

This dessert should be eaten hot, as soon as it's ready, as it tends to collapse when cooled. Serve it on its own or poured as a sauce over plain homemade cake, fresh fruit, or homemade Italian gelato.

Whether you prefer calling it sabayon, zabaglione, or zabaione, you'll love the wonderful taste of this old fashioned Italian dessert. Try an Italian zabaglione recipe today!

Lo zambaglione tradizionale è delizioso.

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