It is, quite frankly, a little nuts to make zabaglione on a Monday, but I had three leftover egg yolks after making chocolate amaretti (recipe to follow) for the Sunday cookie baking, and they weren’t going to get better after another 24 or more hours in the fridge. And really, there is no higher fate an egg can aspire to than zabaglione, the frothy, foamy, heady alchemy resulting from the combination of nothing more than yolks, sugar and wine. Custard is comforting, creme anglaise is elegant, but zabalgione is transcendental, like tasting the rose-tinged golden clouds that accompany the sun as it sets over the wine-dark sea.
I used to be a purist and would insist on beating it by hand just to show off, but even in my pre-soft-and-lazy days, I still wouldn’t have been crazy enough to do it the hard way on a Monday. By all means, use a handheld mixer, Monday or not, unless you really want an upper-body workout.
Marsala is my usual choice for zabaglione, but I didn’t have any, thanks to the stupid archaic blue laws that infest this part of the country and make even a functional teetotaler like me want to stockpile booze just to avoid making another trip to the state-run store. I used port, but you could use almost any sweet wine or liqueur that you desire, although the advantage to the Marsala, besides the wonderful honey-caramel flavor, is that it won’t stain the zabaglione quite as dark as port. Next time, I might even try Kahlua.
Monday Evening Zabaglione
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons port
Set a medium-sized pot containing an inch or so of water on low heat. In a bowl just bigger than the pot, combine the yolks, sugar and port, and beat at high speed with a hand-held mixer or a whisk until combined and foamy, then place over the water and beat over the heat until the mixture thickens and triples in volume. Continue beating at high speed for an additional three minutes, until very viscous and warmed through.
Divide between two stemmed wine glasses, and serve with fruit or plain cookies, such as ladyfingers or amaretti.
Notes: Be careful not to let the water boil, since it might scramble the yolks. If it looks like that might be happening, pull the bowl off the double boiler and continue beating while lowering the heat under the double boiler, then replace the bowl once things have cooled off.