Zabaione is an Italian custard from northern Italy. It’s incredible how four simple ingredients can produce such an amazing dessert. This Italian custard is creamy and absolutely delicious. How can you go wrong with a custard made with sweet wine? I love to serve it with macerated berries. Traditionally made with Marsala wine, but you can flavor it with Cognac or other liquors.
I start by preparing the strawberries first so they have time to macerate. Hull and slice the strawberries (or other berries), add a tablespoon of sugar and a pour about two tablespoons of Grand Marnier over them. Cover and set aside.
To make a bain-marie (or water bath): You don’t need special equipment to make a water bath. All you need is a glass mixing bowl with a bottom that is slightly smaller than the width of the pot you’ll use to boil an inch of water. Once the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and place the glass bowl on top of the pot. The heat from the simmering water will cook or melt whatever you have in the glass bowl. This is a great way to cook eggs, make custards or melt chocolate. Note: Make sure there is plenty of space between the water level and the bottom of your glass bowl so your contents don’t burn.
Bring an inch of water in a pot to a boil. While the water comes to a boil, add the eggs and sugar to the glass bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves and turns pale yellow. Place the glass bowl over the simmering water and add the Marsala wine and Kosher salt. Whisk vigorously and continuously until the custard has thickened and can hold a ribbon in a figure eight. Divide the custard evenly into your serving glasses and serve immediately or allow to cool slightly. I allowed mine to cool before adding the berries and serving.
Note: You can use a hand held mixer, but a whisk is less clean up and works well. I’m all for less clean-up.
Zabaione with Strawberries
A classic Italian custard made with egg yolks, sugar, Marsala wine and a pinch of salt. An elegant dessert for any dinner party. Serve warm or cooled with macerated berries.
- 6 extra large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup Marsala wine
- pinch of Kosher salt
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier
- Garnish: mint
In a bowl, combine strawberries, sugar and Grand Marnier. Set aside and allow the strawberries to release their juices.
Bring an inch of water in a medium size pot to a boil.
While the water comes to a boil, in a glass bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the eggs are pale yellow.
Place the glass bowl on top of the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Add Marsala wine and Kosher salt. Continue whisking vigorously until the custard has thickened and it can hold a ribbon long enough to make a figure eight.
Divide evenly into serving glasses and serve warm or allow to cool. Top with macerated berries and garnish with mint.