Zabaglione or zabaione is a creamy custard made with whipped egg yolks, sugar, & Marsala wine cooked over a double boiler or bain-marie. It's often served with fruit, various desserts, or in small dessert bowls for dipping cookies or ladyfingers! It's a simple but decadent dessert that's perfect for Valentine's Day and Christmas!
Zabaglione is an indulgent Italian dessert made with whipped custard to create a deliciously thick and fluffy topping to pair with fresh fruit, biscotti, or ladyfingers.
It requires just three ingredients and is ready in under 15 minutes. It's fantastic when served warm over cakes and puddings or served chilled over fresh ripe fruit.
My favorite way to serve zabaglione is over juicy, ripe strawberries during the summer. The fluffy, creamy topping looks amazing over bright red berries. Another way I enjoy this dessert is spooned warm into small dessert bowls to dip ladyfingers, biscotti, or cookies.
What is Zabaglione?
Zabaglione, zabaione, or sabayon (in French) is a rich, creamy Italian dessert made with whipped egg yolks, sugar, and sweet Marsala wine. It's a boozy, luscious topping that can be served warm or cold, making it an ideal dessert for any time of the year!
- Egg yolks - This is what creates a creamy, luscious consistency. I used egg yolks from large eggs.
- Sugar - White granulated sugar is best.
- Sweet wine - Marsala is the most popular choice, but Moscato d'Asti, Rum, or Madeira can be used as well.
- Use a double boiler or bain-marie.
- Ensure the water is simmering, not boiling.
- Whisk constantly, ensuring the bottom and sides of the doubler boiler are thoroughly mixed.
- Use a metal bowl for better heat conductivity. Use a silicone glove to hold onto the bowl as it will get hot. Glass bowls are not recommended.
- 6 large egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup sweet Marsala wine - See Notes for substitutions
- Prepare a double-boiler (bain-marie): Add an inch or two of water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Beat egg mixture: Add the egg yolks and sugar to a metal bowl that's large enough to fit atop the saucepan (wait to place it over the saucepan). Using a whisk or hand mixer, beat until thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Next, slowly drizzle the Marsala wine into the egg mixture while whisking or beating.
- Heat over a double-boiler: Place the metal bowl atop the saucepan, ensuring the bottom does not touch the simmering water. Continue to beat or whisk until thickened. Lift the whisk and check that the mixture flows down in ribbons and leaves a visible trail for 8 seconds. The temperature should reach 150°F.
- Serve: Spoon warm zabaglione over strawberries or other fresh fruit. Or pour into small dessert bowls for dipping biscotti or lady fingers. Enjoy!
✎ Recipe Notes
- Substitutions for Marsala wine - Moscato d'Asti, Rum, or Madeira.
- Non-alcoholic zabaglione - ¼ cup of Marsala wine can be substituted with 1 tablespoon of white grape juice and 3 tablespoons of water. Alternatively, you can leave out the Marsala wine altogether. The result will be slightly thicker but still delicious!
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.
Zabaglione is made with Marsala wine, whereas custard is made with milk. Both have a creamy texture and make fantastic desserts.
To make zabaglione without alcohol, substitute a mixture of grape juice with water. Otherwise, you can simply leave out the alcohol. The result will be slightly thicker but still delicious.