Whipped Egg Yolks with Marsala

Any body over the age of 35 who has ever been to an Italian restaurant during the late fifties and throughout the sixties, seventies, and eighties will have at some time or another enjoyed this delicious yellow fluffy cloud of a dessert. Requiring time and energy and dedication to prepare, this remains one of the most seductive desserts ever created. Sadly, there are fewer and fewer Italian restaurants that still retain zabaglione on the menu, opting instead for the ubiquitous tiramisu—which is more convenient as it can be made well ahead of time! I mourn the passing of zabaglione and encourage you to rediscover how wonderful it really is.


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  • 6 tablespoons Marsala
  • 6 tablespoons superfine sugar


  1. Place all the ingredients into the top half of a double boiler and beat them all together with a balloon whisk off the heat.
  2. Fill the base of the double boiler with hot but not boiling water and place over a low heat.
  3. Beat constantly at an even rhythm, always beating in the same direction, and continue for about 20 minutes until the mixture has become light, foamy, and pale yellow. It should be the consistency of semi-melted ice cream. If you undercook it, the liquid will separate from the egg yolks.
  4. If the mixture appears to be scrambling, remove it from the heat immediately and beat hard until it is smooth again, holding the top half of the double boiler in a bowl of ice cold water. Never allow the water in the double boiler to actually come to a boil. Serve warm in stemmed glasses.