Sabayon is the French term for Zabaglione, a simple Italian dessert made of eggs, sugar and white wine, whisked together over hot water to make a thick and creamy texture. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. Care and delicateness is needed so as not to scramble the egg yolks. Too much heat and the eggs will coagulate and turn into breakfast, not dessert. This recipe by Italian Chef Giusepina Beglia uses Muscat wine from the Piedmont (Piemonte in Italian) region of Italy to make exquisite tasting sabayon. You can also make this recipe with champagne or the sparkling wine Asti, which is also made from the Moscato grape and produced in the Piedmont region. Dry white wine will also work well with egg yolks and sugar.
To make perfect sabayon, Chef Beglia and her assistant use a bain-marie to slightly warm the egg mixture. Also known as water bath, bagno maria in Italian, and baño maría in Spanish, the French term bain-marie refers to a piece of cooking equipment that allows food to be gently heated at gradual and fixed temperatures. Like a cooking pot, it has a wide cylindrical metal container consisting of a handle, an outer part for holding the hot liquid, and an inner part for holding the material to be heated or cooked. Under the container is a heat source that can be manipulated to get the desired temperature.
If you do not have this special equipment you can still make this recipe by heating the egg mixture in an improvised bain-marie. Simply use a smaller saucepan for holding the eggs, sugar and wine, and underneath, use a wider and bigger saucepan to hold the hot water. Don’t let the water boil; just keep the temperature real low.