For years I had wanted to try to make this custardy sauce, as it can be used in a number of ways to serve elegant pareve desserts. Not until I prepared the three poached pear recipes on this web site did I actually take the step, however. And what a pleasant surprise! Zabaglione is much easier to make than I thought, and it can be served warm, freshly made, and also cold or at room temperature. It has only 3 ingredients, needs no special equipment, and has basically one instruction – to beat – although it does take a few minutes to do this properly. You can serve Zabaglione in custard cups or beautiful crystal bowls with fresh berries, or as a sauce on fresh or poached fruit. For a little extra flavor, depending on the use, you can spike the Zabaglione with 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or ground ginger. The Zabaglione is excellent served with the Lemon-Ginger Poached Pears.
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Marsala or sweet white wine
Place ingredients in a 2-quart pot. If you have a saucepan with a rounded bottom, the beating will be easier, but this is not necessary. You could also use a stainless steel or copper bowl, held over the burner with a pot holder. I just used a regular stainless steel pot (although it did make a lot of noise).
Beat ingredients with an electric hand mixer at high speed until foamy. Place the pot on the burner over medium heat and continue beating. The mixture will thicken and increase in volume. The idea is to warm the mixture just a little and then remove it from the heat, all the while continuing to beat it. Test the sauce and when it feels warm, remove it from the heat. Continue beating, periodically placing the pot back on the heat and quickly removing again once it begins to warm up. Do not overheat it – it should really be only lukewarm at most. When ready, the zabaglione will be thick and slightly foamy – it should take 10-15 minutes. The longer you beat it the thicker it will get.
Serve warm over poached pears or peaches. Or refrigerate to use later and serve cool or at room temperature with fresh berries.
Makes about 1 cup.
Jamie Stolper is the ShalomBoston.com Food Editor