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Breads, Cakes and Custards
Ostaria Istriana
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Zabaglione - Zavagion - Sabajon
(Marsala Custard)



Zavagion Venexian

(Served warm or chilled)


  • 8 egg yolks

  • 6 tablespoons sugar

  • 12  tablespoons good dry Marsala wine

Beat the eggs rapidly while slowly adding the sugar. Beat until the mixture has lost most of its yellow color and becomes rather white. Continue to beat while adding the wine.

The cooking may be done in a saucepan over a low flame, but it is safer to use a double boiler. Have the water boiling in the bottom part of the double boiler. Put the egg yolk mixture into the top part and stir constantly and vigorously with a wire whip. A wooden spoon may be used instead but the result will not be as fluffy.

Cook until the mixture just begins to attach itself to the bottom of the pan. Do not bring to a boil. Remove the top part of the double boiler and beat the zabaglione a few second longer with the whip.

Pour into warmed sherbert glasses and serve immediately, or pour into cooled sherbert glasses, refrigerate, and serve later on.

Yield: 4 servings


  • Venetian Cooking, H.F. Bruning, Jr. and Umberto Bullo (acmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York and Collier Macmillan Publishers, London, 1973), p. 236-237.

Iced zabaglione

This variation is serve chilled.


  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup & 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • sliced peel of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons cognac (can be omitted, although not as good)
  • 1 pint heavy cream whipped stiff with  1/2 teaspoon vanilla & 1 tablespoon sugar

Beat egg yolks, lemon peel and sugar for 3 min. With electric beater at beating-eggs speed, or 9 min. With hand beater.  Remove lemon peel. Fold in Marsala wine.  Place egg mixture in top of double boiler. (The water in the double boiler should be boiling slowly.)  Cook for about 6 min., continuing to beat with beater. Zabaglione is cooked when it stands in soft peaks.  Remove from fire. Soften gelatin in 1 tbsp. cold water and dissolve in 2 tbsp. boiling water and add to zabaglione, stirring slowly. When zabaglione is at room temperature, blend in the Cognac and heavy cream. Place in individual glasses or in a crystal or silver bowl and place in refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours. 

Serve with cookies or French pastries. It can also be served over berries - (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. (Ed. note: my favorite is sliced strawberries!)

Yield:  Serves 8


  • The Italian Cookbook, by Maria Luisa Taglienti (Random House, New York, 1955)

Zabaglione with strawberries

In this recipe, we serve the zabaglione hot when it’s just made, but if you want to prepare the dish ahead of time, you can mix the zabaglione with whipped cream (similar to above) and refrigerate it.

  • 8 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced 

Put the egg yolks, the marsala, and then the sugar into a large stainless-steel bowl. Set the bowl over a large saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water. Using a hand-held electric mixer on low speed or a whisk, beat the egg-yolk mixture until it is hot and the mixture forms a ribbon when the beaters are lifted, 5 to 8 minutes. Don’t cook the zabaglione for too long, or it will curdle.

Put the strawberries in stemmed glasses or in bowls. Top with the hot zabaglione and either serve the dessert immediately or refrigerate it for up to an hour.

Tips Variations: For a zabaglione that will last up to six hours in the refrigerator, add whipped cream. Beat half a cup of heavy cream just until it holds firm peaks. When the zabaglione is done, remove the bowl from the heat and continue beating until cool.

Preparation time: 10 minutes 
Cooking time: 8 minutes

Serves: 4

Author: Susan Rich, Laura Russell



Zabaglione with brandy


  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup marsala wine
  • 2 teaspoons brandy
  • 1 teaspoon cold water

Beat egg yolks and sugar til light and creamy. Add Marsala and Brandy, beating constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the water and mix well. Pour mixture into top of double boiler, and cook over a slow fire until custard thickens, DO NOT LET IT BOIL. Pour into sherbert or wine glasses.

Serve hot or cold. Serves 8.

Variation on the zabaglione Sauce:

Separate egg yolks from the whites and use 1/2 egg shell of red or white Italian wine, Mandocrema or Marsala for each egg yolk. 

Add sugar to sweeten as desired, and stir thoroughly. Cook over very slow heat, stirring constantly to avoid curdling, until ingredients form a thick sauce. Serve hot with sliced bread or breadsticks, dipped into sauce uf desired, or eaten alone.



Zabaglione from Danette


  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • 1/3 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream, beaten to a medium-thick consistency

In a large, deep, bowl, beat eggs and sugar till thick and pale yellow. Set on top of a smaller saucepan, over simmering water. Slowly add the rum and Marsala and beat well with a whisk or electric mixer until fluffy, doubled in size and hot. Set over ice water and stir till cool. Gently fold in cream. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Serve with fresh strawberries or raspberries.



Zabaglione (Hrvatski)

Desert koji se dobiva miješanjem žutanjaka, šećera i slatkog vina. Često se poslužuje uz voće.


  • 6 žutanjaka
  • 6 žlica šećera
  • 1 šalica slatkog bijelog vina


Zabaglione se kuha na pari. Pazite da voda iz lonca ispod ne dođe u kontakt s dnom posude u kojoj ga kuhate. U lončiću miješajte žutanjke i šećer sve dok ne dobijete gustu pjenušavu kremu. Umiješajte vino. Postavite iznad drugog lonca s vodom koja ključa pa neprestano miješajte 5 minuta. Poslužite odmah.



Rehùmada (Zabaglione)


  • un ovo
  • un cucchiaio di zucchero
  • un goccio marsala

Prendere il tuorlo di un ovo e sbatterlo con un cucchiaio di zucchero, sino a quando avrà preso il colore giallo chiaro. A parte sbattere l’albume a neve fermissima, e unire il tuorlo e un goccio di vino o marsala mescolando bene. E’ un ottimo ricostituente per i bimbi convalescenti se preso alla mattina.


  • Valle Camonica -

Sabayon # 1

Sabayon or zabaglione as it's known in Italy, is a dessert custard that combines egg yolk and sugar with a fortified wine or spirit. Sabayon is unique from other custards in that you whip air into it to add lift. This is a very easy custard to assemble, but if you don't use a balloon whisk very often, prepare for a little workout.

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sweet Marsala wine, port, sherry, or Madeira
  • 1/3 cup or more sugar
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries for topping

Whisk eggs, Marsala, and sugar in the bowl of a double boiler. With a small amount of water simmering in the boiler, place the mixing bowl on top and whisk the sauce constantly until it nearly triples in volume, about 5 minutes. Taste the mixture and add a few drops of lemon juice or sugar, if you like. Spoon into dessert bowls or glasses and either serve warm or refrigerate for later. Top each glass with a modest portion of fruit.

Servings: 6 to 8


The key to getting the best texture and air volume in your custard is to monitor its temperature so that it reaches near 180 degrees. Don't let it get hotter or you run the risk of cooking the yolks. Better cooks can judge the temperature by touch, but I use my trusty cooking thermometer.

Don't feel you need to stick with using Marsala. My best sabayon was made from a 50/50 mixture of dry white French vermouth and dark rum.


  • (Adapted from "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home")

Sabayon # 2


  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup champagne (or marsala of wine of choice)
  • 1 cup whipping cream (optional)

Whisk together yolks and sugar. Place over simmering water. Whisk until the thickness of Hollandaise. Add wine slowly, continuing to whisk, and cook until a ribbon forms when the whisk is lifted. Transfer to water bath and continue whisking until cooled completely. Whip cream and fold into sabayon.



Apple cider sabayon


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sparkling apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons Calvados, a French apple brandy (regular brandy can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (1/2 cup whipped)

Fill a medium stockpot a quarter of the way full with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer. Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Combine sugar and egg yolks in a large metal bowl, and whisk until mixture is pale and has a thick consistency, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add apple cider and brandy, and beat for 2 more minutes. (For best results, choose a metal bowl that just fits inside the pot.)

Set the bowl over the simmering water. Whisk together for 6 to 8 minutes, until the sabayon thickens and is fluffy and slightly stiff. The sabayon should begin to look satiny and start sticking to the bowl slightly; air bubbles will become very fine instead of large and loose.

Set bowl in ice-water bath. Continue whisking sabayon until chilled, about 3 minutes. Whip the cream to medium-stiff peaks, and fold into chilled sabayon. The sabayon can be stored in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Yields: About 5 cups



Champagne Sabayon


  • 15 egg yolks
  • 15 ounces heavy cream
  • 12 ounces champagne
  • 6 ounces sugar

In a large (cook able) bowl, combine the egg yolks, heavy cream and champagne. Whisk together and add the sugar. Continue to whisk frequently as you bring the mixture onto the heat. Heat until very hot and thick, but do not boil.

Serve immediately, garnished with fresh berries or other fruit.



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Created: Wednesday, January 20, 1999. Last Updated: Monday, December 31, 2012
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