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Frozen coffee sabayon: easier and faster than gelato

Posted in Food & Entertaining, and Uncategorized

Frozen coffee sabayonSince it has become apparent that sugar is linked to every evil disease that can befall our bodies, I have tried to abide by the very personal rule that I will only eat dessert if I make it, the thinking behind it being that, at least, I can control what goes into my sins. And, by and large, unless I am dining at one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, it will be better than anything commercial I am likely to buy (and most restaurants don’t employ pastry chefs anymore).

I have a bit of a reputation for a sweet tooth, the only person in my family, so I am not sure how the sweet gene trickled down. My mother, an otherwise amazing cook, only has three desserts in her repertoire: flourless chocolate cake; rice cake and jam crostata. As good as they are, by year 8 of my life I started craving something else. Unlike all my girlfriends’ mothers who bought them cookies and snacks, my mother did not believe in them, which left an entrepreneurial and sweet craving kid no choice but to learn to make things she liked.

I had a knack for custards and one of my favorite was sabayon. Liquor was obviously out of the question, but I experimented with coffee – I have been drinking coffee since I can remember – and realized that the combination of eggs, sugar and coffee was spectacular. Which is why, craving sweet and abiding by my rule I had to make it, a couple of days ago I found myself in the middle of the afternoon at the stove making coffee sabayon.

It takes all of eight minutes, including cracking the eggs. The trick is to pour the sabayon, once it’s done, into little ramekins and freeze them. When you feel like something sweet, take one out, let it sit for two minutes and enjoy. Better than coffee ice-cream and fewer calories by the way. Also, because it’s made with egg yolks, a little goes a long way.

Even better, make it a few day in advance of a dinner party and just take it out of the freezer ten minutes before it’s time to serve desserts. Garnish with a cookie and you are done!

Place the bowl on the stove on a water bath
Place the bowl on the stove on a water bath and whisk

Recipe – Serves 4 to 6

6 Egg Yolks

3/4 C Espresso

1/2 C Sugar

  1.  Place all the ingredients in a stainless steel or other non-reactive bowl and whisk.
  2.  Place it on a pot of gently boiling water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl or your eggs will scramble.
  3. Whisk continuously for about 10 minutes, until the sabayon is frothy and puffy, and the whisk leaves a brief impression when lifted.
  4. Place the bowl in an ice-bath for a few minutes, until cooled, whisking occasionally. Sabayon will deflate a bit.
  5. At this point you can actually fold in about a cup of whipped cream, to tame the coffee flavour and to make a semifreddo. otherwise, pour the sabayon in individual ramekins (or espresso cups), cover with plastic wrap and freeze up to three weeks. 
  6. Let thaw between 5 and 10 minutes before serving.

Images C&S

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  1. How did you know I have a raging sweet too as well? It will be my downfall. But I’ll go down with a smile (toothless but from ear to ear!)

    April 11, 2014
    • My dentist has grown rich solely on my teeth!

      April 11, 2014
  2. Great idea to make zabaglione from espresso. I hadn’t thought of that.

    April 10, 2014
  3. silvia

    sabayon reminds me when as a kid I couldn’t eat anything in the morning (that was before I discovered breakfast in England in my teen years). Worried about my daily calories supply (at that time I was a really skinny child), every morning my dad made it for me and sent me off to school

    April 10, 2014
    • What our parents called zabaglione was not actually zabaglione at all, but just raw eggs whipped with sugar (also super delicious and made often). Real zabaglione is cooked. In this day and age, parents would be arrested for feeding their kids raw eggs, as the risk of salmonella is too high. But, man, was it good!

      April 10, 2014
    • Yes, you can use pretty much most liquids, provided they are not too acidic. Tradional sabayon is made with Marsala or Moscato wine, which are sweet. But I love it with champagne or prosecco, for a slightly tarter edge.
      For something not alcoholic, you can try commercial flavoring syrups, like hazelnut or almond or caramel. In that case, decrease the sugar amount.

      April 10, 2014

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