So Delicious Sabayon Sauce

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on May 19, 2010

Weeknight dinners can be stressful, and sometimes it is all you can do to get the main meal on the table, and you haven’t even had one single moment to think about dessert…In most families, weeknight desserts usually include whatever is available. We do everyhthing we can to skip it and pass on the extra calories, but you know that you are eventually going to face that “moment”…you know the one I mean, the one that hits you when you are watching your favorite cooking show and you start craving something sweet. You run around the kitchen and are faced with the dilemma that the kids ate the last cookie, the hubby finished all of the ice cream and you are having a moment of senility and can’t remember where you hid your stash of dark chocolate…am I right? So, what’s a girl to do?

I know, I know, I hear it all the time…you still want something healthy but yet decadent at the same time…I guess they will come up with that magic dessert when they come up with that magic pill that will help melt all of those extra calories overnight, right?

Well, how about just a little bit of decadence? I’m thinking skip the ice cream and make a fluffy and creamy sabayon to go with all of that delicious fruit. Sabayon is actually a French term, but the Italians know this as zabaglione sauce. It can be made in both a sweet or savory variation, and is actually very easy to make. The sweet version reminds you a little of a soft and loose premium quality ice cream when it is chilled. This is a perfect dessert to try for any time, whether it is after a dinner at home with the family or an elegant dinner party. We use raw egg yolks in this recipe but don’t worry! They are cooked over a double boiler to 160°F, and then whipped until cool over an ice bath. It is best to serve it right away, but you can store it covered in the refrigerator for a few hours. Some people also fold in whipped cream, but I don’t think it is necessary. I have also heard of others folding whipped mascarpone cheese in situations where they had to make the sauce way ahead of time. The mascarpone gives it a little more body so it stays fluffy longer. Try the recipe and let me know what you think…

Sabayon Sauce

6 large yolks

1/4 cup – 1/2 cup granulated sugar (if you use the whipped cream or mascarpone cheese then use more sugar)

1 teaspoon of vanilla

4 Tablespoon of Marsala wine **(traditional)

1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest (optional)

4 oz  or 1/2 cup whipped cream or 4 tablespoons whipped mascarpone cheese **optional

First, fill a large bowl with water and ice and set this aside. Set up a double boiler on your stove top and make sure that the bowl that is sitting on top is not touching the hot water below in the pot. Add the yolks to the bowl and turn the heat on medium high and start whisking. The yolks will slowly get warmer, so keep on whisking and add a little sugar at a time until it is all incorporated. Continue to whip until the sabayon is very pale and registers 160°F on your thermometer. If you do not have a thermometer, you can tell when the sabayon has reached that temperature when you touch it with your finger and it feels very warm/almost hot, but not scalding hot. Make sure you continue whisking so as not to cook the yolks.

Cook at this temperature for a few minutes and then carefully remove the bowl from the double boiler and set it into the larger bowl that you have set aside that is half filled with ice water. Continue to whip until completely cool and ribbons form as it falls from the whisk.

Add the marsala wine or liquor of your choice plus the vanilla and serve immediately or cover and set in the refrigerator…but use within 2 hours. If you need to make this ahead of time, you can fold in some whipped mascarpone cheese before you cover and put it in the refrigerator. Or you can whip some cream and fold it in to the sauce to lighten it up right before serving.

Traditionally, sabayon is made with marsala wine, but you can use whatever you like. Many people use rum, brandy, cognac, grand marnier etc…I had both strawberries and orange segments, so I added 4 Tablespoons of grand marnier and 1 teaspoon of orange zest.  Whatever you use, just make sure that the flavor of the liquor will compliment the fruit you are using.

***An original recipe from

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