Sabayon is a super simple yet decadent dessert sauce that I first fell in love with in pastry school. It consists of just four ingredients and tastes very strongly on wine*. What’s not to love?
Despite the fancy name, sabayon is a dump recipe. Dump egg yolks, sugar, and wine into the bowl of a double boiler, whisk until the sauce thickens, and you’re done. That’s it.
The only real trick is knowing when the sabayon is done cooking. When first mixed together, egg yolks, sugar, and wine create a thin, translucent mixture. Once placed over heat and stirred, the mix expands and forms tiny bubbles like a foam. As you whisk, air is incorporated into the sabayon. The yolks trap that air and cause the entire mixture to increase in volume. As it increases in volume, the once translucent sauce becomes a thick opaque foam. The sabayon is finished when it’s doubled in volume, and you no longer see any translucent liquid. If you want to be on the safe side, set a timer for three minutes, whisk like it’s exercise, and you should have yourself a sabayon.
Some like to pour sabayon over cake or even ice cream, but I like it straightforward. I tossed some fresh-cut strawberries and whole blueberries into a wine glass, poured the sabayon over the berries and finally sprinkled a few more pieces of fruit on top to make it look extra pretty.
My sabayon has an assertive wine flavor that I love. On its own it’s a bit tart, but the berries help to calm it with a little sweetness. However, if you’re looking for a more sugary sauce, use a sweeter wine. Use Riesling instead of Sauvignon Blanc or even add a tablespoon or two more of sugar, if you want something sweeter. No matter what, choose a wine you like the taste of, because there will be plenty left over to drink. Happy Sifting!
*Personal Admission #23: Sabayons cook at a relatively low temperature, so the alcohol doesn’t completely cook out. I learned this in pastry school after me and a classmate ate a gigantic bowl of sabayon in class. Suddenly our chef instructor’s lecture become much more interesting.
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup white wine, Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 lemon, zest
- 2 pints fresh berries, optional
- In a small sauce pot, heat two inches of water until steaming.
- Once the water is steaming, mix yolks, sugar, and wine together in a medium-sized metal or glass bowl.
- Place the bowl over steaming water to create a double boiler.
- Constantly stir with a whisk. The mixture will start to froth and thicken. Continue to whisk until the sabayon becomes opaque, foamy, and doubles in volume. This will take around three minutes.
- Take the sabayon off the heat. Stir in lemon zest.
- Pour the sabayon over fresh cut berries. Serve immediately, and plate in a wine glass if you’re feeling classy.