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Berries with Sabayon

Saba-what? This was a new one for Jen that I'd learned to make from mom but Jen tasted for the first time at a neighborhood Italian place and fell in love with it.

Berries with champagne sabayon

Sabayon is a foamy egg-based mixture of generally Italian origin and related to zabaglione.  It's perfect for those who are lactose-intolerant because it's got no milk but it has a texture similar to whipped cream but heavier and tastier than meringue. It can be saucy (more watery) or thick (like meringue) depending on how long you heat it for. Commercial versions use cornstarch but I think that that's a cop-out.

Sabayon can be made a variety of ways, but traditionally it is made with a Marsala, port, sherry or Madeira.  Some recipes, like the one in these photos, use champagne, so it really depends on your taste and what you intend to serve it with (if you want less savory you can even use water). Some fancier methods even call for the use of a whipped cream that is folded into the sabayon and then broiled to cause it to glaze and crust with a nice golden exterior.

Ingredients for sabayon with berries

Finally, it can be served warm or cold.  We prefer cold so if you do that, keep an ice bath ready to prevent overheating. If warm, make it at the last minute since it cannot be re-heated.

Late summer strawberries

The other nice thing is that it is pretty easy to make if you pay attention. The basic premise works a lot like a Hollandaise sace - using a liquid to heat egg yolks which causes them to thicken but not "cook".  I urge you to try it out!

6 egg yolks
1 C liquid: water, Marsala, port, sherry, Madeira or champagne
1/3 C sugar (or 5 tsp Splenda)
1 pint fresh berries

Balloon whisk
Steel or copper bowl
Saucepan of simmering water

Bring the water to boil then turn to simmer. In the meantime, set up your berries in the presentation.  Here I've sliced the berries up and plated them, but often it's seen served in dessert goblets or gratin dishes.  Separate the yolks and whites (which I save for omelettes) and put the yolks into the bowl along with the sugar and liquid. Blend with the whisk.

Slicing strawberries

Sliced strawberries plated and ready to serve

Rest the bowl over the hot water (should no longer be boiling).  Whisk constantly for 4 to 5 minutes until it reaches the consistency of light whipped cream.  Be careful to not overcook or the eggs will scramble (it will turn clumpy).  If serving chilled, remove from heat and put the bowl in the ice bath.  Otherwise, just begin "plating." Spoon the sabayon right onto the berries and serve.  Garnish with mint sprigs. Enjoy!

Sabayon with berries (closeup)

Image by MadeForJen

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