Total Time
Prep 2 mins
Cook 5 mins

A dessert on its own, or served with berries or baked puddings, sabayon is like champagne in sauce form: its tiny bubbles almost audibly fizz and pop as your tongue wraps around each luscious spoonful. "Sabayon" is a French transliteration of the Italian "zabaglione," originally made with one tablespoon sugar and two tablespoons Marsala per egg yolk; French versions typically use white wine instead of the sweeter Marsala, and increase the liquid by 50% for a softer, lighter cream.


  1. In a zabaglione pan (or a metal bowl or round-bottomed double boiler), whisk together the yolks and sugar until lighter in color; then stir in the wine.
  2. Se the pan or bowl over a smaller pan of simmering water, and whisk until the mixture swells and thickens into a stable foam; it is ready when the wires of the whisk start leaving light traces between strokes. The water in the lower pan should be actively simmering but not boiling violently, and should not touch the bottom of the upper pan. There's no need to beat hard; just use a gentle back-and-forth wrist motion, getting all over the pan so the mixture doesn't overcook on the bottom and sides. Don't cook past the "light traces" stage, or the sabayon may lose volume and become dense instead of airy.
  3. Off heat, whisk in the Grand Marnier (or rum, kirsch, or whatever). Serve immediately.
  4. For an Italian zabaglione, reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup, and use 1/2 cup of dry Marsala.