Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sassy Sabayon

While sabayon is one of my favorite treats of all time, it is a tough cookie to photograph. I snapped dozens of shots, portraits, and profiles for this week's Called to the Table. But like recorded stills of a squirmy cat, none of my photos proved satisfactory. Sabayon is an ethereal imp who refuses to be fully captured.

That is probably for the best. No photo can come close to depicting the pleasures of sabayon as well as M.F.K. Fisher did when she wrote about the sensuous dessert. I'd never tasted sabayon until I read M.F.K. and her description had me running to the kitchen to experiment with the foamy custard. I've made it with sweet wine, red wine, and beer. But the best, in my opinion, is made with sparkling wine.

Champagne Sabayon
Makes four 1/2 cup servings
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup sparkling wine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fill 1-quart saucepan ½ full with water and bring to simmer over medium heat.

Place ingredients in a stainless steel mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water, and keep whisking until sauce becomes thick and doubles in volume; 3 to 5 minutes. Sauce should be thick enough that a ribbon of sauce trails off the end of a spoon when lifted.

Serve warm.

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s recipe on

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