Dreaming about Italian food … not sure when it will be safe to visit again, but with World Food Travel Day coming up shortly I was mentally going through my most amazing food experiences while travelling. With not much surprise, Italy’s amazing desserts came straight to my mind.
Imagine sitting alongside a small stream not far from the remnants of an ancient castle, shaded by large, century old trees, just a short drive from one of the most popular Italian itineraries (the stunning Lago di Garda) but far enough to have left most tourists behind and instead mingling with a bunch of locals that have come to said place to enjoy a leisurely lunch.
The place I still vividly recall is the locally popular Ristorante Antica Locanda sul Mincio, and memories of that day invariably bring back flashbacks of the first ever Zabaglione I’ve enjoyed. Forced, if I remember correctly because there were neither panna cotta nor tiramisu on the small menu … but in the end I was ever so glad having discovered this often-overlooked classic Italian dessert.
Italy’s classic Zabaglione dessert
As legend has it, Zabaglione dates back to the 16th century Tuscany and was particularly popular at the court of Catharina de Medici. Other stories claim this custard dessert origins in medieval Venice or 9th century Piemonte.
Honestly, it does not matter when or by whom it was created. The most important fact is, that it got created in the first place.
Zabaglione or sometimes also called Zabaione is traditionally made with egg yolks, sugar, and sweet wine (originally Marsala but sweet Moscato works quite as well).
That said, today there are many more various versions using white port wine, dry white wine, prosecco and even spirits like sherry and cognac.
The best part of this dessert is, it can be made very quickly, on the spot even, with no need to put it into the freezer for several hours prior to serving. And you will likely have the needed ingredients at home anyway.
Zabaglione can be enjoyed still slightly warm as well as cold and whilst it is a perfect dessert on its own, it works fantastic with fresh fruits.
Inspired by the popular Hugo Cocktail, which is based on Prosecco and elderflower, this variation of zabaglione incorporates the beloved Italian bubbles and elderflower syrup, giving it a refreshing tweak on the original recipe.
For this recipe, I used entire eggs which makes the custard lighter and fluffier. If you prefer it to remain denser and closer to the original, simply discard the egg while and only use the yolks.
Make sure to use only the freshest organic eggs since they will we only slightly warmed up but never cooked. Thus, using older eggs could increases the risk of salmonella.
150 ml Prosecco
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
150 ml elderflower syrup
juice from half a lime
250 g fresh strawberries
In a large bowl, add eggs, prosecco, grated lime zest and elderflower syrup. Beat the mixture vigorously over a boiling saucepan of water until the mixture becomes thick and creamy (for about 10 to 15 minutes).
Remove from the heat and keep beating another couple of minutes until the custard as cooled a little. Add the lime juice and continued to beat for another minute.
If you want to serve the zabaglione cold, you can put it in the freezer for a couple of hours maximum. However, it is perfect to serve still slightly warm.
Wash the strawberries, eliminate the steals then cut in pieces. Mix with a bit of lime juice then divide into small bowls or glasses. Top up with the zabaglione.
If you liked this version of zabaglione, please let me know.