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How to make a sabayon

A sabayon is a light sauce traditionally made with egg yolks, sugar and wine, normally Marsala.

Also known by the Italian name zabaglione, it is believed to have originated in Italy in the 1500s, although there is much speculation about its exact inception.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 75g of caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp of Marsala wine
Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together in a bowl over a bain-marie
Once foamy, slowly add the liquid while whisking constantly
Keep whisking until the sauce thickens to a custard-like consistency
Serve your sabayon immediately


If you want to serve the sabayon cold, remove it from the heat but keep whisking constantly until it is cool.


Try substituting the Marsala for sweet white wine or Pedro Ximenes sherry. If you don’t wish to use alcohol you can use lemon or even coffee.

You can add whipped cream or egg whites to the sabayon to make it thicker and more mousse-like.

You can also make a savoury sabayon; leave out the sugar, exchange the Marsala for white wine or lemon juice and add a pinch of salt. Savoury sabayons are great served with fish dishes.

Serving suggestions

Have a go at Josh Eggleton's Eggy bread with pan-roast Sweet Eve strawberries and elderflower sabayon or Martin Wishart's Gratin of scottish raspberries which is served with a crème de framboise sabayon.

For savoury ideas, see Chris Horridge's recipe for Monkfish wrapped in Parma ham, with red wine jus, lemon sabayon and cockles or Shaun Rankin's Sea trout with asparagus and pink grapefruit sabayon.

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