Zabaione problem

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Joined Apr 24, 2011
Hi everyone.. First of all great thanks to the creator of this website because it is great for people who are interested in cooking as amateurs or professionals to communicate and share experiences..

I have been cooking at home for some time now, mostly desserts but also some pasta and meats.. Anyway, I had a huge wish to make Zabaione since the beginning and finally I got the wine needed - couldn't find Marsala so I used Red Port instead. I used a standard recipe, 2 yolks, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. wine for 2 servings.. First of all I mixed the yolks and sugar, it went okay except for the small volume of the mixture because it was a halved recipe.. I somehow managed to beat with the electric mixer until it was almost pale (although I don't think it should've been paler) and added the wine while beating. I put it over a double boiler, it wasn't touching the water, it was barely simmering at low temp, then increased to low-medium, everything was supposed to be okay.. First of all due to the wine the colour went to pink and even chocolatey and the end product looked like I had used cocoa in it. Anyway, I mixed it for a while over the double boiler until I saw it wasn't going well.. When I took it out, the mixture hadn't doubled or tripled in volume like all recipes say but 10 minutes had surely passed.. it was thickened but even sticky, like chewing gum, and it didn't taste like nothing.

I've been wanting to make Zabaione for months now and now that I have the wine I'm really disappointed - please tell me what I did wrong. Thanks! :)
 
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i believe that you didn't have enough egg yolks in your recipe to start with...also, you didn't mention whether or not you cooled it down(stirring constantly) over ice,before folding in the whipped cream... i don't have my tried and true recipe with me as i am on holiday in mexico,(in search of the perfect margarita), but i'm sure you can google it. think my recipe is something like 8 egg yolks to 1/2 c sugar, 1 cup of whipped cream, 1/3 c marsala, but will doublecheck it... i have heard of using muscato, lemonicello, orange liqeuer, champagne and tuaca, but ruby port is a new one...tawny port would be closer to marsala i think... the recipe i use with a half and half mix of a good brand of sweet and dry marsala, is one that is served cold and will last a day or two in the fridge.. i would be most happy to send it along when i return, if someone else here doesn't give their advice. zabaglione is one of my most favorite desserts, but there is ALOT of stirring involved...ALOT! hope this helps a bit

joey
 
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I think it was tawny - I was reffering to its colour, not the aging process, but I think it is tawny..

Anyway, the regular recipe is double this (4 yolks, spoons sugar etc) but since I was only making two servings I used only two yolks.. and I didn't add any whipping cream, I like it in the original form.. And should I use an electric hand held mixer or a whisk? Because my hand hurt WITH the mixer...
 
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Something Tasty, you're almost there, but you made a few mistakes.

The ratio of ingredients in your zabaglione (or sabayon in french) is excellent. You may like to know that the ingredients are mostly measured with a half egg shell instead of tbspoons! You have to break eggs anyway, so why not use the halves to measure, it contributes to the fun. Per eggyolk, add 1 half eggshell of sugar and 1 half eggshell of booze. It doesn't matter too much which wine, but tawny port isn't very OK. You could have used white port instead. Simply have a not to dry white wine instead or even champagne if you want to go extravagant (I think champagne is a waist of money). And of course, Italian Marsala is very OK.

You need to put all ingredients in immediately, including the booze. Now you made a "ruban" (ribbon in english) with sugar and eggyolk and added the booze afterward. That's a mistake, you need to make the emulsion from the start, which means the booze has to go in at the beginning. So, eggyolk, sugar and booze need to be in the pot first and then whisked into an emulsion. This needs a lot of whisking power! Please, do use your electric handmixer all the way, but move it in all directions in your pot, preferably in "8"-shaped movements and do keep the whisk at the bottom of your pot.

I didn't mention yet you need to put it on a heat source. You did well putting the pot on a bain-marie (pot with boiling water). But, there's another mistake; the water needs to boil gently or you're going to whisk forever.

In the first stage the emulsion will turn foamy, but later on it will increase at least double in volume and there will be no more liquid in the pot. That's it, you're done! Pour into long glasses and serve. You can add a scoop of vanilla icecream first and top it with the zabaglione...so delicious!

Also, a bit more culinary adventurous; fill a deep plate per serson with all kinds of seasonal fruit, cut in bitesize pieces. Cover with a layer of zabaglione and put it  a minute or so -as close as possible- directly under the grill in your oven to get a slight color. Yummmm!
 
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Thanks for the long and useful answer. However, I have a couple of questions.

You say tawny port isn't very OK. Does this mean I shouldn't use it or I can use it if I can't find a replacement? Because this is about the only fortified wine I could fine in my country..

Most recipes say that the water should be barely simmering, which is what I did, bring it to a boil and lower the temperatures. I still haven't "mastered" the double boiler technique and I am cooking on a new stove that I haven't learned very much yet (I started at 9 out of 9, lowered to 3, here I put the pot above the water, after some time went to 4 and after some more to 5). Is this okay or? Also, most recipes say first beat it well then put it on fire, I don't understand from your answer if you mean this or start beating from the beginning over a double boiler?

I am hoping to try again tomorrow although I will see what will I do. Thank you very much :)
 
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Also, when I added the port the colour went from pale yellow to pink and even brown when cooking, how can I maintain the nice yellow colour of zabaione?
 
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Red port will give the prepatation a color as you already experienced. Don't find any other booze? Let's use the port anyway.

When you put all ingredients in the pot, just whisk for a second to mix (sugar can "burn" eggyolks), then proceed over your bain-marie. Do keep the water boiling but make sure it doesn't touch the pot. It will work, don't worry.
 
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You mean boiling, as in boil at high temperature as much as possible?

Also, all red wines give that colour? Because I've seen recipes use a red wine and get the regular colour.. I have white wine but regular, not fortified..
 
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Gently boiling bain-marie is more than enough.

All red wines will color the sabayon. If you have a white wine, use it if you want to keep the yellow-pale color. It doesn't need to be fortified wine at all, there's enough sugar in the preparation.
 
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Around how high is gently boiling? Medium, medium-low?

It wouldn't change the taste a lot if I use a weaker and drier wine than the Marsala?
 
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Wow.

lots of info!!!!!

I'm going to respectfully dissagree about the water temp. You can use any type of boiling/simmering water after you are familiar

with the cooking process. You can pull your bowl to cool and reheat etc. I've even made it over open flame.

For now you should be using the lowest temperature of steam possible. A weak simmer or even bringing your water to a boil, turning off,

and whisking. 

You're only looking for 150-160 degrees to achieve the volume. I would even suggest using your thermometer while learning. Even your

clean finger. Body temp is almost 100, You only want to go half way to a simmer. Like hot water. Don't want to cook the eggs.

There are numerous ways to prepare this. I'm going to suggest CBelgiums way because your volume is so small. all ingredients in at start.

Port is good, it will pinken though.

Sorry!!!way too long!!!  The most important thing to remember is, it's not too technical, have fun, and once you get it, it is a quick, flavorful,

go to. Use antthing that might compliment your ingredients. I've seen it made with water, many wines, I like it with champagne over figs with

a blend of coarse sugars and salts and bruleed.

have fun

pan
 
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Hello Something Tasty,

Just a thought,

You can always use 1/4 cup of Moscato d'asti, or even a Riesling (fruity  from Germany or California, does not have to be expensive) if you don't have Marsala.

Zabaione is a classic custard and the reason it is whipped so much and why you need to whisk it is because it needs to incorporate alot of air (volume) and always over a bain marie so that you don't burn it.

Pan and Chris's technique are right and I agree with them.

And yes, because its a custard, seasonal fruit is the way to serve it up.
 
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I have a white Traminer, it's one of the best in my country, can I use that?
Absolutely, do use your Traminer!

I always make my sabayon directly on a small fire and take the pot on and off, same for béarnaise, Hollandaise and such. I wouldn't suggest you to do this right now.

But when making it over a bain-marie you need enough temperature. The temperature in the cooking water is not the same as in the preparation. One other criterium; when you see some evaporation coming from the sabayon, it's high time to take it off the fire. Also, before I forget; never leave the sabayon in the pot when just done! The heat in the pot may cause the sabayon to turn ihnto scrambled eggs.. You need to whisk it some more or simply serve it asap.
 
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Okay so here's the "plan"..

I will put the pot of water and bring it to a boil. When it starts boiling, reduce the water to a gentle simmer (medium-low heat). In the double boiler I will put 2 yolks, 2 Tbsp. sugar and 2 Tbsp. white Traminer, mix them a little and put over the pot of simmering water. Beat with electric mixer until it doubles in volume, before boil or evaporation.

Anything to correct? :)
 
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SomethingTasty,

Just saw your post, yes to your question.  Last night when I logged off you had not posted your question. We are all at different time zones. Please keep us posted on how your second batch comes out.

Dobzre,

What a great pic and a fine finishing touch !
 
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something tasty,

know i'm a bit late with this since you have plan B in place, but thought i'd send it along anyway...if you are looking to achieve the flavor of, dare i say, a 'traditional' zabaglione, which is made with marsala or muscato, then no, your zabaglione will not taste the same with another type of alcohol. you will have the same fluffiness and lightness, but the flavor comes from whatever flavoring you put in. since you are not concerned about a 'truer' zabaglione flavor as much as color, then use whatever you like,have or can get. what country do you live in that knows not of madeira, sherry, vermouth? since you cannot find marsala what about using an extract or a flavored coffee syrup? i have not tried this, but think it should work fine if you're really jonesing. some extracts and syrups will change the custards color, but if you fold in whipped cream, it will change it back to a lighter color. how are  you serving this? warm? cold? with fresh fruit? biscotti? with whipped cream folded in, which to me makes it even lighter..what type of bowl are you using to cook the custard? s/s, not glass, right? i think that you really need to use a whisk, not a mixer. with such a small amount i don't think a mixer can really get to the eggs or the bottom of the bowl fully. whisking as much air as you can into the yolks is what makes it so light and fluffy. whisk, whisk, whisk until your arm is about to fall off, then whisk some more....your'e almost there, and it will triple, i promise. personally there is so much whisking and whipping involved that i would just make a full recipe and not just half....its just as much work,and trust me, it will not last long...you will find ways to eat it..just a spoon is good!

ChrisB...i'm not looking to open a can of worms here and with all due respect because you generally have good advice,and while your sugar/booze in the eggshell may sound cute, i see more frustration than fun involved...broken eggshell in the custard mix, broken eggshell and messy fingers just trying to get the sugar in and out of the shell...think since you already got the spoon to put the sugar in the eggshell, you might as well just measure it once and throw it in the mix.......just me

something tasty, sucess to you with plan B...should be great using the traminer

joey
 
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