Zabaglione recipe, a simple Italian custard dessert made with egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine. Also known as zabayon or sabayon.

  • Yield: Serves 6


Zabaglione custard:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Drop of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine

Serve with:

  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • Strawberries, raspberries, or biscotti


1 Put custard ingredients into a bowl: Place egg yolks, and sugar in a large, round-bottomed stainless steel or pyrex bowl. Add grated lemon peel and a pinch of cinnamon and a drop of vanilla extract to the yolk mixture. Pour in the Marsala wine. You can use sweet Vermouth as a substitute for the Marsala.


2 Prepare a double boiler: Half-fill a pot with water, bring the water to a simmer and reduce the heat to maintain the simmer. Set the bowl containing the custard mixture over the water; the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.

3 Whisk custard mixture until it thickens: Whisk the custard mixture, making sure that the water in the pot below is just gently boiling, and not touching the bowl. This ensures that a gentle, even heat thickens the mixture without curdling it. Whisking traps air in the yolks for a light, fluffy mixture.

Continue whisking for about several minutes, until the mixture triples in volume, froths up and becomes pale.

4 Remove custard from the pot to a container: When the custard reaches the desired consistency, take the container of custard out of the pot. Slightly thickened, the custard can be used as a sauce. Longer cooking will thicken the custard further, giving it the texture of mousse. Continue whisking for a minute or two to prevent the custard from sticking to its container.

5 Serve: Serve the custard while still warm, or, if you want to serve it cool, set it aside for about 15 minutes. Whisk heavy cream until it forms soft peaks; add the whipped cream to the cooled custard and use a whisk to gently fold them together. Reserve some of the whipped cream to serve on top.

Ladle the zabaglione into individual dishes. Serve with whipped cream, berries, and/or cookies such as biscotti.