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‘Buon Viaggo’ to my neighbors, who, by now, are on their way to get hitched in lovely Hawaii!  On their last night in town we all had a little ‘Wine and Dessert’ send-off to which I brought some ice cream and zabaglione sauce.  I feel quite lucky to have friends, just next door!  🙂

I was happy that my first attempt at zabaglione sauce turned out well, as it has the reputation for being a fussy dish to make.  As I sat there, whisking away endlessly, it dawned on me that making this custard sauce is pretty much a dessert mayonnaise, swapping the oil and savory ingredients for wine and other sweet things.  Traditional, Italian-style, zabaglione is made from Marsala wine but you can use other flavored liqueurs, schnapps or fortified wines that you like.  Zabaglione is great hot or cold and over just about anything you’d want to eat for dessert; common accompaniments are ice creams and gelatos, fresh fruit and Italian cookies.


It’s best not to serve this one to kids, as it’s got both partially-cooked eggs and booze in it.  Not that I need an excuse to hog all the dessert…  If you wanted to served this to kids or non-drinkers, you could quickly boil or flambe the hooch first to get rid of the alcohol but keep the flavor.

Zabaglione Sauce

Makes 2 cups – serves 8 portions of dessert

Cost approx $.28 per serving


  • 6 egg yolks ($.72)
  • 6 Tbs sugar ($.25)
  • 6 oz / 3/4 cup Marsala wine ($1.25)

If you’ll notice the 1:1:1 ratio of ingredients, this recipe can make as much or as little sauce as you want.  Begin by whisking the egg yolks and sugar together in a heat-proof bowl until the mixture is pale in color, fluffy and thick.  This will take 5-10 minutes.  I’m sorry, 5 minutes will feel like and eternity, but just set a timer and just don’t stop whisking until it goes off.

See? Pale and light...

See? Pale and light…

Bring a small pot of water to a simmer, place the bowl with the egg and sugar mixture over the simmering water. The level of the water should be just below bottom of the bowl so that the gentle steam heats the mixture.  Now, start whisking again and don’t stop.  Slowly, a few drops at a time, whisk in the Marsala until it’s all incorporated and the sauce thickens slightly and becomes airy and light.  This process should take another 5-10 minutes or so.  This process is quite tedious, so find something good on the TV or call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.  I found it useful to occupy my mind while my hands were busy whisking away.

Now it's a thick, creamy custard.

Now it’s a thick, creamy custard.