Since 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!
Recipe – Serves 4 to 6
6 Egg Yolks
3/4 C Espresso
1/2 C Sugar
- Place all the ingredients in a stainless steel or other non-reactive bowl and whisk.
- 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.
- Whisk continuously for about 10 minutes, until the sabayon is frothy and puffy, and the whisk leaves a brief impression when lifted.
- Place the bowl in an ice-bath for a few minutes, until cooled, whisking occasionally. Sabayon will deflate a bit.
- 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.
- Let thaw between 5 and 10 minutes before serving.