Win $500 Cash! The Holiday Desserts recipe contest is on now. ENTER HERE →

Super Simple Italian Zabaione

A luxuriously delicious, classic dessert that whips up in just minutes.

A zabaione (also spelled as zabaglione) is a classic Italian dessert, one that is simple to make and elegant to serve. Just a few ingredients make this luxuriously smooth and sweet custard – sweet but not too sweet! It’s a staple at most Italian restaurants and certainly in the kitchen of more than a few Italian grandmothers. The beauty of the zabaione is that it can be served on its own, or topped with crumbled almond cookies, or even with fresh fruit. I highly recommend you try it a few times to decide which way you prefer to enjoy your zabaione *wink.*

The process is a simple one but that doesn’t mean these are fool-proof. We’re dealing with warm egg yolks and that means we need to be super mindful of temperature and stirring. But don’t let that intimidate you! A double boiler technique means you’ll have all the control in making this batch of zabaione.

It’s best to work with room temperature eggs here, that way nothing is too shocked once it comes into contact with the warm water from the double boiler. I’ll take my hand mixer and whip up the egg yolks with sugar and a liqueur. I’ve had zabaione made with Marsala wine, with moscato, even with amaretto. This is more for flavor than it is anything else, so if you can skip the alcohol but I do think it brings something extra in terms of flavor and richness.

Zabaione is best served warm, so have your serving dishes ready. The rich custard a beautiful pale yellow color and while it tastes amazing on its own, I like to top it with a crisp cookie for texture. Sometimes that’s biscotti with a cup of espresso on the side. Other times, I enjoy adding fresh fruit – especially raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries to lighten up the richness of the creamy zabaione. Ultimately, this dessert needs no additional adornment. Enjoy!

Serves 4

5m prep time

10m cook time

Rated 4.3 out of 5
Rated by 3 reviewers
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 tablespoons Marsala, Grand Marnier, or Amaretto liqueur
  • 8 biscotti or ladyfinger cookies
  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 2-inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Add egg yolks and sugar to a large glass or stainless steel mixing bowl.
  3. Use a hand mixer set to medium speed to whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns a pale color and begins to thicken, 3 minutes.
  4. Add the liqueur of your choice and continue to beat with the hand mixer, 1 minute.
  5. Place the bowl over the top of the steaming water and continue to whisk the egg yolk mixture until it thickens and cooks the egg yolks, about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour into awaiting serving cups and garnish with biscotti or ladyfinger cookies.

Recipe adapted from Laura in the Kitchen.

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes