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Zabaione Italian dessert.jpg
A glass of zabaglione
Alternative namesZabaglione, zabajone, sabayon
Place of originItaly
Region or statePiedmont[1]
Main ingredientsEgg yolks, sugar, a sweet wine

Zabaione (Italian pronunciation: [dzabaˈjoːne]) or zabaglione (UK: /ˌzæbəlˈjni/, US: /ˌzɑːb-/, Italian: [dzabaʎˈʎoːne]) is an Italian dessert, or sometimes a beverage, made with egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet wine (usually Moscato d'Asti or Marsala wine).[2] Some versions of the recipe incorporate spirits such as cognac. The dessert version is a light custard, whipped to incorporate a large amount of air. Since the 1960s, in restaurants in areas of the United States with large Italian populations, zabaione is usually served with strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc. in a champagne coupe.[3] In France, it is called sabayon, while its Italian name is zabaione or zabaglione (or zabajone, an archaic spelling).

The dessert is popular in Argentina and Uruguay, where it is known as sambayón (from the Piedmontese sambajon) and is a popular ice cream flavour.[4] In Colombia, the name is sabajón. In Venezuela there is also a related egg-based dessert drink called ponche crema. This is consumed almost exclusively at Christmastime.


Though accounts vary, the Italian dessert dates as far back as the second half of the 15th century, when a recipe for Zabaglione appears in the manuscript collection at the Morgan Library Cuoco Napoletano[5] In Tuscany, it is said that Zabaglione has been well known since the 16th century, and very popular to the court of Caterina de' Medici. In Piedmont, it is said that the original name has been Sambayon, in honor of Saint Pasquale Baylon. In Emilia-Romagna it is said to have been named in 1471 after the condottiere Giovanni Baglioni (in dialect ‘Zuan Bajòun) whose men, in foraging for his troops, could only come up with eggs, honey, white wine and herbs,[6] the trope of the lacking ingredients familiar in many historicized legendary origins in cuisine.


Classical zabaione uses raw egg yolks cooked in a bain-marie, and most often served with Marsala (though other wines can be substituted).[7] It can be finished with beaten egg white (meringue) or sometimes with whipped cream.

Occasionally, the wine is omitted when the dish is served to children or those who abstain from alcohol. It is then in effect a very different dessert. It may then be sometimes flavored with a small amount of espresso most commonly called Uovo sbattuto.

In French cuisine[edit]

The French adopted the recipe as part of their system of sauces in the 1800s as a dessert cream called sabayon.[2] By the 20th century the name sabayon was also used to describe savory broths and yolk-based sauces.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b McGee, Harold (2007). On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (Illustrated ed.). Simon and Schuster. pp. 113–115. ISBN 978-1-4165-5637-4. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  3. ^ Foster, John (2 September 2016). "Chef Foster: Hard to Pronounce Treats Offer a Pleasant Surprise with Seasonal Ingredients Added". North Kentucky Tribune. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  4. ^ Lebeaux, Rachel (23 September 2016). "Luscious Treats Abound at Dulce D Leche Gelato café". Boston Globe. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  5. ^ Coquinaria: "A fifteenth-century recipe for Zabaglione"
  6. ^ See for example Tunisian sabayon
  7. ^ DeWan, James P. (26 June 2013). "Creamy Indulgence of Zabaglione Whisk, Whisk, Whisk your Way to a Luscious Italian Custard". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Definition of SABAYON".

External links[edit]