Heavenly Zabaglione: A Dreamy Italian Dessert

Traditional Italian Zabaglione Custard Dessert Recipe

Indulge in the cloud-like bliss of zabaglione, a warm and boozy Italian treat that will transport your taste buds to culinary paradise.

Zabaglione, also known as sabayon in French, is a magical dessert that transforms just three simple ingredients into a luxurious, ethereal cloud of deliciousness. With its roots in Piedmont, Italy, this versatile treat is the ultimate last-minute dessert fix that never fails to impress.

The Perfect Wine for Your Zabaglione

While traditional recipes often call for Marsala, we’re taking a delightful detour with Vin Santo. This Tuscan dessert wine brings the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity to elevate your zabaglione. For an extra flavor kick, consider adding a splash of rum or grappa. Remember, the wine you choose will be the star of the show, so pick one you truly enjoy!

Essential Equipment for Zabaglione Success

Creating the perfect zabaglione is all about technique and the right tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A heavy copper or glass bowl for even heat distribution
  • A pot that snugly fits your bowl for the water bath
  • A 12 to 14-inch balloon whisk for that perfect airy texture

Mastering the Zabaglione Technique

Prepare for a arm workout that results in pure deliciousness! Here’s how to whip up the perfect zabaglione:

  1. Simmer water in your pot and combine ingredients off-heat
  2. Whisk continuously over the water bath, incorporating air
  3. Watch for thickening and perform the 8-second test
  4. Continue whisking off-heat to achieve the ideal consistency

The 8-Second Test

Your zabaglione is ready when it passes the 8-second test: lift your whisk and let some zabaglione fall back into the bowl. If it takes a full 8 seconds to flatten, you’ve achieved perfection!

Serving Your Zabaglione

Serve this heavenly dessert warm or at room temperature for maximum flavor impact. Pair it with fresh berries, a slice of panettone, or simply enjoy it on its own in a beautiful dessert glass. For a special touch, sprinkle some toasted almonds on top and serve with crisp biscotti on the side.

Zabaglione Recipe


  • 4 large egg yolks (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (1 3/4 ounces; 50g)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Vin Santo or other sweet, fortified wine such as Marsala (see notes)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)


  1. Set up your water bath by bringing 1 inch of water to a simmer in a large saucepan. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Add wine and salt, whisking until the mixture becomes lightly foamy.
  2. Place the bowl over the simmering water and start whisking vigorously. Use an up-and-over motion to incorporate air and prevent overheating. Keep whisking for about 5 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Once the zabaglione thickens and passes the 8-second test, remove from heat. Continue whisking off-heat until it reaches your desired temperature and consistency. If needed, add lemon juice in small increments to balance the sweetness. Serve immediately and enjoy your homemade slice of Italian heaven!


This recipe uses 4 egg yolks per 1/4 cup of fortified wine like Vin Santo or Marsala. For a lighter version using Moscato d’Asti, you can substitute 1 whole large egg plus 1 large egg yolk for the same wine quantity. This creates a frothier zabaglione that showcases the delicate Moscato flavors.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
141 Calories
6g Fat
14g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 141
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 232mg 77%
Sodium 184mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 87mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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