How To Make Sabayon – Another Simple Summer Dessert

Jul 22, 2020 | desserts, Recipes

Sabayon, or Zabaione in Italian, is a sweet or savoury sauce made of egg yolks whisked over a double boiler with some kind of alcohol, usually, a sweetened or fortified wine. Versions of this sauce used for dessert, like the one we are going to make today, also contain sugar and are served over fresh berries, or cake. Savoury versions are often finished with fresh herbs and served over chicken or fish. Sabayon is perfect for summer because it takes very little time to make, you don’t have to turn the oven on, and it is delicious. Let’s take a look at how to make it.

Macerating The Berries

The dessert that we are making today is Sabayon served over fresh berries. So, the first thing to do is to prepare the berries. Hull and quarter 1 cup of strawberries and put them in a bowl with a 1/2 cup each of blueberries, and blackberries (you can use whatever type of berries you’d like). Sprinkle the fruit with 1 tbsp of sugar, stir, and let sit for 20 minutes.

Setting Up The Sabayon

The first two ingredients to get ready for the Sabayon are the egg yolks and the sugar. I find the easiest way to separate the egg yolks from the whites, is to break the eggs into a bowl and scoop the yolks out using my hands. Use whatever egg separation method you prefer. I’ve only used four egg yolks in this recipe because I prefer a relatively thin Sabayon. However, if you would like it to be more custard-like, you can use five to six egg yolks and keep the rest of the ingredients the same.

Put the egg yolks into a heatproof bowl, and add to them 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat the egg yolks and sugar for a minute or two before adding in the next two ingredients.

Cooking the Sabayon

The alcohol I used is Brandy, but you can use Marsala Wine, a dry white wine, red wine, vermouth, sherry, or port. You can pretty much use whatever you want. I like to add the alcohol after the egg yolks have cooked and set a little bit. Some people prefer to combine all of the ingredients at once. You can choose which way is best for you.

After you have beaten the yolks and sugar, add in 1/2 a tsp of vanilla extract and mix. Put the bowl over gently simmering water and whisk for 3-4 minutes. Add in 1/4 cup of alcohol, and keep whisking for another 8-10 minutes. Do not stop whisking through the entire cooking process. There are two reasons for this. First of all, if the mixture stops moving, it will start to cook to the bottom of the bowl, which means your Sabayon will have bits of cooked egg yolk in it. Secondly, the key to the texture of Sabayon is the air. You want to get as much air into the sauce as you can, and this is done by continually whisking. Think about it as if you are making whipped cream. When the sauce has tripled in volume, it is ready.

Putting it all together

Remove the Sabayon from the heat and set aside. Put the berries in serving dishes and spoon the Sabayon over them. It is best to serve the Sabayon right away, though you can chill it in the fridge with the berries.


Sabayon or Zabaione is an Italian sauce that can be either savoury or sweet. This version is sweetened and served over fresh berries.
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French, Italian
Keyword: No-bake dessert, Simple Desserts, Simple Summer Desserts, Summer Desserts
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Brandy or Port, Sherry, or Wine
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 cups Mixed, Fresh Berries


  • In a heatproof, medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and brandy.
  • Set the bowl over gently simmering water and whisk constantly for 10 minutes or until the sauce triples in volume.
  • Pour the sauce over the berries and serve warm.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Because Sabayon can be made both sweet and savoury, it is a very versatile sauce. Once you get the hang of making this sweet version, try a savoury version over a nice piece of salmon or trout. Enjoy!

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