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Vanilla Bean Zabaglione with Berries

There is a reason this dessert is so popular in Italy.  You want to lick the glass it's served in, it's so good. I made these for dessert for our Valentine's dinner and my husband ate two.  

Zabaglione is a custard made with egg yolks, sugar and Marsala wine.  It's traditionally served warm but because I like make-ahead desserts, I'm serving mine cold and folding whipped cream into it to make it lighter. You can add your own touches to this recipe.  I added a little orange juice and also served the custard over fresh berries.  

When making zabaglione, you whisk it in a double boiler or a bowl just set over a pan of simmering water.  Make sure that the water is not boiling vigorously - it should be just barely simmering.  You don't want to cook the eggs, you just want them to be heated.  Once the custard is thick, you transfer the bowl to an ice bath so that it cools down quickly. 

Because zabaglione only uses egg yolks, you will have egg whites left over.  If you don't want to make egg white omelets in the morning, you could make these wonderful little cookies the next day.


Vanilla Bean Zabaglione with Berries


for a printable recipe click here

serves 4


  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dry Marsala wine
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split seeds scraped out
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Chambord (optional, but yummy


Whip the cream until it is stiff and place in the refrigerator. 

Prepare an ice bath (just a large bowl filled with ice water) and set aside.  Fill a medium saucepan with about 2 inches of water, place on the stove and bring the water to a simmer.

In a medium size stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, wine, vanilla bean seeds and orange juice until blended.  Set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is thick, about 5-8 minutes.  It can take as long as 10 minutes.  Make sure the water is just barely simmering and not boiling - you do not want to cook the eggs, but gently heat them up. 

When the mixture is thick, turn off the heat and place the bottom of the bowl in the ice bath to cool down (make sure to not get any water into the mixture). Whisk for a couple of minutes until the mixture has cooled down. Fold the whipped cream into the mixture.  (At this point, you can refrigerate the mixture until you are ready to use it).

setting the mixture in an ice bath and then folding in the whipped cream

Place the berries, the sugar and the Chambord in a bowl and gently toss.  Divide into 4 glasses.  Top with the zabaglione.

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Reader Comments (12)

I like the idea of lightening it with whipped cream as I find the straight custard so rich I can barely eat it. I'm ready for berry season after reading this!

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCooking with Michele


Just a little claification please. When you say whisk, do you mean with a wired hand whisk or a electric whisk beater?

Thank you/

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulianna

I can imagine your husband ate 2!! :) Delicious recipe and nice photo's!
Ciao ciao, Letizia

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLetizia

From The Italian Dish:

Julianna: You whisk with a hand wire whisk. Hope this helps. Thanks.

February 20, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

What a beautiful and refreshing dessert to lighten up typically heavy winter fare. This is wonderful, Elaine. I'd love to try it for myself sometime! Thanks for sharing your talents.

um...this looks so amazing, I love blueberries and cream! who needs peaches and Cream!.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaylee ockerman

Looks yummy! can I make this without the wine? what would be a good substitute?

March 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjac

From The Italian Dish:

Jac: Yes, you can make it without the wine - the orange juice will still lend some flavor!

March 20, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

This dessert is absolutely fabulous! The moment I read it I had to try it out, and I have to say, I could easily eat two myself! Dangerously delicious and very possibly one of my new favorites. (I've already made it on two different occasions!) Also, adding the Chambord definitely makes a tasty difference. Now I didn't use vanilla bean, but instead just some extract since that's what I have always lying around, but I know that using vanilla bean would only make it that much better, so next time. Thanks for introducing me to such a simple delicious dessert Elaine!

May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

Hi - just found your website and the recipes are divine - so this year will spend my free time just making food. I am so glad I found your recipe for the zabaligone - here in the UK many restaurants have stopped serving it due to the eggs in the recipes. So now, I can make it at home. Thanks.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGayle

Hi, I am going to make your Vanilla Bean Zabaglione with Berries for a dinner party this week. Love the recipe and excited to try it. I am having 12 people. Can I double the recipe or do I have to make it one batch at a time.

Thank you.

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

From The Italian Dish:

Nancy: I have never tripled this recipe (it serves 4) but I would think it would be a little hard to whisk that amount of egg mixture. Also, the egg mixture might take longer to cool down in the ice bath. I would say, just to be safe, to do it in batches.

May 13, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

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