Try this Espresso Zabaglione recipe at your next Christmas party and take your family and friends to heaven. Next year will be too far away!
Zabaione is an Italian dessert, or beverage, made with egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet wine (usually Moscato or Marsala). Some prefer to add some spirits, like cognac. The dessert variant is a fluffy custard, whipped to combine a large volume of air.
Since the 60s, in restaurants in areas of the United States with large Italian populations, zabaione is typically served in a champagne glass with blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and such. In France, it is named sabayon, while its Italian alias is zabaione or zabaglione.
The dessert is traditional in Uruguay and Argentina, where it is known as sambayón. It is also a favorite ice cream-type in Argentina’s ice-cream stores. In Colombia, the dessert is called sabajón while, in Venezuela, a related egg-based sweet drink named “ponche crema” is popular.
This dessert is consumed almost solely at Christmas season.
- 6 egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ cup espresso brewed with a tiny pinch of cinnamon and cloves
- 2 tablespoons Cognac
- Cocoa powder and powdered sugar, for serving (optional)
- Combine the egg yolks and sugar with a whisk until the mixture is brighter and frothy.
- Put the bowl on bain-marie and whisk.
- Keep adding the cognac from time to time.
- When the mixture is thick(10-15 minutes), around 145-150°F), take down the bowl to a bath of ice water to cool while mixing.
- After two minutes of mixing, add the espresso and continue to mix until the mixture has cooled down.
- Pour to cups and freeze, or keep extremely cold, overnight.
Traditional zabaione uses raw egg yolks, but today many may prefer to cook the custard in a bain-marie. It can be finished with meringue or some other times by whipped cream.
On occasion, the wine is discarded when the dish is for children or those who refrain from alcohol. It is then, actually, a very different dessert. It may then be sometimes spiced with a small amount of strong coffee or espresso.
The first time I tried this delicious dessert was over 40 years ago in a restaurant in São Paulo. Via Veneto used to be a pretty decent neighborhood Italian restaurant that my grandparents loved to take me on Sundays. Later on, my mother and I moved to a small apartment in a fancy commercial street where an ice cream parlor served its “gelato” version of this delicacy.
The recipe above is a Brazilian coffee and spice version of an original that I adapted from The New York Times.
I hope you enjoy it!