Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

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A Saint's Recipe That Men Love - Zabaione

And they'll love you for preparing it for them!










Saint Pasquale de Baylon (1540-1592) from Turin, Italy is the Saint Protector of all World Cooks since 1722.  

He was sanctified partly because of the energy and potency a recipe of his gave men in his parish and beyond, helping them conceive lots of children.  

That recipe was for Zabaione or Zabaglione or Sabayon, a simple egg yolk, sugar and sweet wine dessert.  

In Italy, Zabaione is traditionally served to the newlywed man so he has energy to get through the wedding night!  

The energy comes from the egg yolk and sugar.  The flavor comes from the combination of the three main ingredients.

Iíve never met a man who didnít love Zabaione.  I even had one male dinner guest who after taking a few bites, begged for the remainder from the kitchen.  Then he astounded us all by licking the pot clean!  (We had fun teasing his wife about the fun evening she had ahead of her.)  

I think that because men love the dessert so much, more than women, they just love the person who makes it for them, hence the rise in Renaissance birth rates in and around Turin, Italy!

The original recipe Brother Pasquale gave to his female parishioners is still used in Turin, Italy by housewives.  They call it the 'L Sanbajon or the 1-2-2-1, because of the proportion of ingredients  of a single portion:  1 egg yolk, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 egg shells of sweet wine, 1 egg shell of water.

The sweet wine used is Marsala wine, but you can make it with any dessert wine, or liqueur or liquor.  Whiskey Zabaione is especially good, but the whiskey has to have a strong flavor, like Jack Daniels or a single malt.

In the recipe I give you here for several portions, the original water is replaced with more wine.  Wine was very expensive back in the 1500s, so Brother Pasquale had the housewives thin it with water.  

Most if not all of the alcohol cooks off during the preparation leaving only the flavor.  If youíre serving it to children, just cook it a bit longer to be sure you cook off the alcohol.

6 eggs yolks

3/4 cups sugar

1 cup Marsala wine

  • Put the yolks and sugar together in a stainless steel pot. 

  • Mix this with an electric mixer over a very low heat (or in a double-boiler) constantly as you slowly add the Marsala wine. 

  • Cook it for at least 5 minutes, mixing all the time as it thickens.  If it's not light and airy after that, whip it for another few minutes at high speed.  (Cooking times vary so be patient.  It's the egg yolks that do the most to thicken the dessert, so if the eggs are small, add an extra yolk.)

Serving Suggestions:

  • It's delicious served warm over sliced fruit, especially peaches.

  • Traditionally,  itís served with cookies.

  • Fancy restaurants serve it warm in a brandy snifter with a long handled spoon.







Visit all my Summer Sweets Pages:

Creme - Custards

Granita - Water Ices

Dolci al cucchiaio - Spoon-Breads

Sweet Salami


Rice Pudding