This is absolutely one of my favorite creams!
And it’s fast and quite easy to make 🙂
It’s a cream to eat just as it is (and in the past grandmothers were preparing it for the nephews when they “needed energy” 🙂 ), or to be added on some cakes, for example a classic pairing is with panettone or pandoro.
The most used name in Italy is zabaione, which is more faithful to the most probable origin (the latin word sabaiam), but it’s correct also zabajone (which is a more ancient and literary form) and also zabaglione (less frequently used).
The ingredients are very few, but to obtain a very good result it’s important to follow some steps.
And it’s a cream, and not a foam or something liquid, so forget about the electric beater, if not just at the beginning.
About the wine: the traditional zabaione is usually made with Marsala wine, but also other sweet and fortified wines are ok: I had very good results with passito (straw wine), with vinsanto, and in Hungary I had very good results with Tokaji Aszù, Tokaji Szamorodni and also with Tokaji Late Harvest 🙂 but I’m sure you can try also with Madeira, Sherry, Sauternès and other similar wines.
It’s a lot about yolks, so if possible choose good eggs 🙂 a good looking zabaione has a beautiful deep yellow color, and we all know that for the best color (and taste) we need eggs from real free-range hens.
The following recipe is for 3/4 people if you eat it as it is just in a cup, but if you want to use it for example on pandoro or panettone then it’s enough also for 6/7 people.
- 7 yolks
- 100 g sugar
- 120/150 ml of sweet/fortified wine (traditionally Marsala)
- Since we will prepare it in a bain-marie, start to gently boil the water in a pot (the water will not have to touch the bowl in which there is the zabaione, so check the measures). In another small pot heat the wine (this will reduce the alcohol content, I prefer).
- In a metallic bowl whisk the yolks and the sugar together. The bowl has to have a round bottom, so we can perfectly mix every part of the cream, and any parts will remain in some corners. It’s better if you do it manually, but for this first step you can use the electric beater if you want, but at low speed. Mix until it’s softer and whiter, but don’t incorporate too much air.
- Then add the wine, very slowly, and keep whisking (manually is better).
- Now put the bowl over the bain-marie, and keep whisking with no stop, but now only manually, as we said we must obtain a nice, smooth and soft cream but not a foam full of air bubbles.
- You have to go on until the zabaione become more creamy, you will feel it and you will notice how the cream remains attached to the whisker. While doing this control always that the water doesn’t touch the bowl, and it has to boil just a little bit and not too strong. In about 8-10 minutes it should be ready.
- Detail: the yolk alone coagulates at 68 °C (it becomes thicker at 65 °C and it solidifies at 70 °C, but with extra ingredients those temperatures slightly change), so we should prepare the zabaione at about this temperature, if you want you can use a thermometer but also without, taking care, you can see if you are doing the things correctly or not: you have to keep mixing, keeping the water to boil very slowly, just simmer, and avoiding the yolks to solidify on the bottom of the bowl. If you do it correctly there must be any thick residuals on the bottom.
- As I said, it’s perfect next to a panettone or a pandoro, but also just alone in a cup it’s a perfect dessert, maybe with some amaretti on the top 🙂 you can eat it warm or cold, how you prefer.
Below you can see a photo with a zabaione made with the eggs of “Misi Bácsi” (1), whose hens are free all day long in its big garden in the countryside (the very yellow one), and another zabaione (2) made with “Bio” eggs from supermarket (the less yellow, clearly the “Bio” eggs sold in supermarkets are not so “Bio” as the eggs of Misi Bácsi 😀 )