Zabaglione, Zabaione or Sabayon with Pears

zabaglione or Sabayon with Pears

by Azélia on 03/03/2010

in Chocolate,Desserts,Featured Sidebar Post

If  you like your puddings to stick to the side of your ribs then make this to go with your sticky pudding as an alternative to cream, just make it less sweet.   If you want the perfect dessert that will deliver a sweet kick at the end of a romantic meal but not get in the way of slowing you down on your night of promise then serve this simple; on its own, over berries or as here with pear.

The Creamiest Dairy-Free Dessert
Zabaglione also known as zabaione interchangeable with sabayon, it couldn’t be simpler to make, it’s extremely creamy but manages to be dairy free so if you ever wanted to make a dairy intolerant friend love you more, make them this because coming from someone who knows, when you have to avoid dairy it’s almost impossible to find desserts that are light and creamy and taste as if you’re eating clouds…or at least what you imagine clouds would taste like. This mousse is so incredibly light, you’re eating lots of air bubbles with flavour.  You know those fancy isi siphon creation some top restaurants are making?   Well this reminds me of those, it disappears in your mouth as soon as you close it.

This is a warm mousse made with Marsala as here or with sherry, I used the Pedro Ximénez I had, (photo below of blue glass with dark chocolate shavings) I would also like to use the Vino Santo that’s in the cupboard but any wine would work well, in Michel Roux’s Dessert book there’s a recipe using raspberry eau-de-vie….now thinking about orange flavoured liqueur..endless possibilities.   In Valentina Harris’s book, Italian Regional Cookery (one of my oldest book) she states in Italy, apart from Marsala, white wine or even red wine is used in zabaglione.  I’m going to try and make a non-alcoholic one using fruit flavoured syrup.  Recently saw a savory version served with fish, looked particularly good, can imagine it with lemon or lime juice and zest.

Technically we’ve entered spring but food wise we’re not quite there.  Pears, favourite winter fruit, don’t bother with them in the summer so I tend to use them throughout this time until the shelves in the fruit section shows signs the season has finally changed.  Usually poached and paired with chocolate as in my chocolate & pear tart, but here I wanted coupled with something other than chocolate…quite difficult task for me…believe me…and the zabablione seemed ideal, the creamy slightly alcoholic mousse with a poached pear gave balance and also a delicate bite with the foam.

This is a last minute dessert, I know that makes some nervous and the second point is it takes 20 minutes to whip!  Ooh don’t click away…it’s not as bad as it sounds….if I tell you it’s really well behave, that my 11 year old could do it, it won’t throw a tantrum and show you up.  And as far as the 20 minute whipping time is concern, well it’s a gentle whip that a weak wrist can cope  (like mine).  If I tell you this was one of the first desserts I made when I set up home as a young adult and started entertaining…yep I felt all grown up!  It behaved for me then for someone with little experience but full of hope and it will behave for you.

You can make this as a cold dessert but you’ll have to add a little gelatin as Michelle Roux states in his Desserts book.  Researching on the net for what sort of recipes are out there, I came across suggestions you could just let it to go cold put in the fridge but having made it a couple of times this week for the photos and purposely let it stand to see whether it would separate or not and it does so do not expect it to stay together without the gelatin.  I’ve also seen suggestions if wanting to serve it cold to add it to whipped cream which maybe, in my thinking the thick cream might be sufficient to hold the mousse without separating but I would have to experiment with that theory.

I did come across a suggestion of making a chocolate version by mixing at the end with melted cooled chocolate…ok so I’m back to chocolate again…it’s because my teenager showed an interest when talking to her about it..honest.  I will certainly give that a try, must put it in Must Try list.  I also came across suggestions of mixing the zabaglione at the end with whisked egg whites to make it lighter but can’t see the point in that, if it was any lighter I think it would float in the air, then how would you eat it?

Sherry Pedro Ximénez Zabaglione
In the version below I made it with sherry Pedro Ximénez which gave the mousse a caramel colour and taste,  finished with grated dark chocolate, I liked the slight bitter chocolate against the caramel of the mousse.

Zabaglione or Sabayon

Serves 4
Looking through trustworthy recipes for variations, Michel Roux’s one using slightly more liquid to portion of egg yolks I stuck to Valentina Harris recipes of equal parts, easy to remember, it has always worked for me.

4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons of sugar – add less sugar if wanting to use as a sauce
4 tablespoons of water
4 tablespoons of Marsala or chosen alcohol

You have to whisk this over a pan of simmering water, make sure it’s on the slowest smallest ring you have, and now and again you lift the bowl up from the pan to let steam escape.  I always worry with the built up of steam the bottom of the bowl will get too hot spoiling the eggs.  Use an oversized bowl to give the room for the balloon whisk and whisk in gentle large strokes rather than furiously, you’re trying to give the mousse time to cook.

Within 2 minutes it will thicken up into ribbon making  constancy but you’ll need to keep going to make sure the egg is cooked and it has the texture of mousse holding its own shape, the word I can find to describe it as voluptuous.  This will take between 15 – 20 minutes.  Serve straight away.  If for any reason you had to wait and it start to separate a little just give it a gently whip over the pan again for a few seconds.

For the Pears
I poached the pears in syrup flavoured with vanilla and cut the top of the pear for decoration with the rest of the pear chopped into small cubes put in the glass in the middle they will sink and then place the top of the pear on top above the cubes using them to rest it on see last photos below.

This is after about two minutes it rapidly becomes thick.

Let the steam built up escape from time to time by lifting up the bowl from the pan.  Between 15-20 mins you’ll have a thick voluptuous mousse with the texture of clouds

If you let the mousse stand for more than 15 minutes it will start to seperate

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kavey March 3, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Wow, that’s a real show-stopper kind of dessert! Looks stunning!

Paul July 30, 2010 at 9:14 pm

I have been trying to understand sabayons for the purposes of making tiramisu and I must say that this article is very well-written, photographed, and incredibly useful. Thank you!

Azélia July 30, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Thank you and so pleased you found it useful.

Paula July 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Just back from Paris where we had “Roasted Peaches” that I am trying to
duplicate. After reading your article about peaches I gather that the result could be obtained by following your poaching in wine and water and sugar, + vanilla bean.
THEN-I think I would set all this in the oven at about 300 for 30-50 minutes.
The way we had it there was a firm-ish and rich texture on the outside of the
peaches-due to the roasting I am thinking.
The serving was two whole peaches, with a scoop of ice ream between them and cookie crumbs and rasberry syrup on the plate.

Seems like yours except for adding the roasting-baking element.
If you have thoughts or experience please let me know.

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