Sabayon is like a delicious cloud of rich, creamy, dreamy, champagne-flavored bliss. It is a classic French dessert sauce made by emulsifying egg yolks, sugar, and dry white wine, usually champagne. I turn it into more of a stand-alone dessert by folding in velvety whipped cream.
This supple dessert combines the magic of emulsification with the richness of egg yolks, the structure of whipped cream, and the light flavor and effervescence of champagne. The result is true kitchen magic in action.
But don’t let big words like emulsification scare you—this Champagne Sabayon is a cinch to make, and all it needs to become an elegant dessert is some fresh berries.
The Italians make their own version called Zabaglione or Zabaione, which is the same type of egg yolk-and-sugar emulsion but is made with marsala instead of champagne. Crème Anglaise, too, is a variation of Sabayon made with milk and cream instead of wine.
It’s interesting to note that hollandaise sauce is essentially a savory sabayon made by omitting sugar and adding butter and lemon juice instead of champagne. Bernaise, then, is another iteration that is made more acidic with the addition of white wine vinegar and gets added flavor from tarragon, shallots, and black pepper.
Why You’ll Adore This Dish
This Champagne Sabayon is a decadent dessert that is sure to win you praise. Here are some of the reasons to love it:
- This sabayon recipe requires only four simple ingredients: Egg yolks, sugar, cream, and champagne.
- It’s easy to make! All it takes is a bit of whisking. The total time involved is less than 20 minutes.
- Its light, airy texture and rich flavor make it feel like an indulgent treat.
- Its versatility allows it to shine at a sophisticated dinner party or a casual get-together.
- Serve it with fresh fruit like berries or peaches, or use it to adorn a simple chocolate cake.
- Variations are endless! Turn this Champagne Sabayon into a chocolate sabayon by adding melted dark chocolate. Or make it a coffee sabayon by substituting Kahlua or another coffee-flavored liqueur for the champagne. Try it with Grand Marnier and add a bit of orange zest. Or use marsala, madeira, hazelnut liqueur, or any other fortified wine or flavored liqueur you like!
Ingredients You Need
You only need four simple ingredients to make this elegant dessert.
- Sugar: The sweet foundation of Sabayon. For a nuanced flavor, experiment with honey as a substitute.
- Egg yolks: The lusciousness of Sabayon comes from high-quality egg yolks, showcasing the essential role of eggs in creating a creamy texture.
- Sparkling wine: Choose a sparkling wine you enjoy sipping on its own. I like a crisp, dry champagne.
- Heavy cream: Cream is whipped and folded into the egg yolk emulsion to give the Sabayon its velvety texture.
How to Make It
Sabayon is simple to make, but it requires some technique. The keys are to create a sturdy emulsion of the egg yolks, sugar, and wine; to whisk the cream until it forms stiff peaks; and then to gently fold the cream into the emulsion without deflating it.
Regarding equipment, you’ll just need a whisk, a couple of mixing bowls, and a saucepan. For making the emulsion, use either a double boiler or a stainless steel bowl that fits over a saucepan.
- Create the base: In a stainless steel bowl (or the top of a double boiler), whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until smooth and creamy, and then gradually whisk in the sparkling wine, whisking until it is well incorporated, and the mixture is foamy.
- Set up a double boiler: Heat an inch or two of water in a saucepan (or the bottom of the double boiler)over medium heat and place the stainless steel bowl with the yolk mixture on top, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
- Whisk until thickened: With the bowl set over the simmering water, whisk the mixture continuously using a back-and-forth motion until it foams up and thickens, which should take 5 to 7 minutes.
- Cool the mixture: Set the bowl aside, allowing the Sabayon base to cool to room temperature.
- Whip the cream: Whip the cream in another stainless steel bowl until it forms soft peaks.
- Fold in the whipped cream: Gently fold a scoop of the whipped cream into the cooled yolk mixture, followed by the rest, until fully incorporated.
- Serve with berries: Present your Sabayon masterpiece immediately, accompanied by a generous serving of fresh berries.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips that will make the process even easier!
- Sabayon requires constant whisking once you’ve begun the process, so it’s a good idea to have everything ready before you start.
- Ensure the water in your double boiler is at a simmer, not at a boil, and the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
- To hold the bowl in place over the saucepan, drape a small kitchen towel over the saucepan; just be careful that it doesn’t hang down over the sides where it can catch fire from the burner (you can use a damp towel to prevent this).
- Be careful not to cook the base. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature if you’re worried it is getting too hot. It should reach a maximum temperature of 150°F.
- Make your Sabayon up to 2 days in advance. Keep it in a covered bowl in the refrigerator and set it on the countertop for about 30 minutes before serving to bring it to room temperature.
What to Serve With It
Sabayon is so delicious that I’d be perfectly happy to eat it right out of the mixing bowl with a spoon, but if you want to serve it to guests in a proper fashion, topping it with mixed fresh berries or other soft fruit is perfection. The vibrant acidity of berries, like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, is a refreshing contrast to the rich, velvety texture of the Sabayon. Add some graham cracker or ginger snap cookie crumbs sprinkled over the top for a subtle crunch.
A dollop of Sabayon takes a slice of chocolate cake to a new level. Try it on Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake, Apple Cider Donut Cake, or Honey Cake! I also can’t resist dunking cookies in it like Gingersnaps, Quaker Oatmeal Cookies, or Honey Cookies.
Champagne Sabayon is a luscious dessert that takes a few simple ingredients and turns them into something truly decadent. Blending egg yolks, sugar, and sparkling wine into an emulsion and then gently folding in whipped cream creates a cloud-like texture with subtle champagne-and-cream flavor. Top it off with a bunch of fresh berries for a relaxed yet indulgent dessert.
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sparkling wine
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks.
- Whisk in the wine and continue to whisk to combine well.
- Heat a couple of inches of water in a saucepan over medium heat and place the stainless steel bowl on top, double-boiler style. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.
- Whisk constantly until the mixture foams up and thickens, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Set the mixture aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, put the cream in a stainless steel bowl and whisk until it forms
- Once the yolk mixture cools to room temperature, add a scoop of the whipped cream to the mixture and fold it in gently with a rubber spatula until incorporated. Add the rest of the whipped cream to the mix and fold until combined.
- Serve immediately with fresh berries.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 308Saturated Fat: 12gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 209mgSodium: 23mgCarbohydrates: 22gSugar: 22gProtein: 4g