Of all of the various foams I’ve tried out with my iSi whipper, the one that has dogged me the most has been sabayon. It was a little frustrating because it was one of the few desserts that I actually had a recipe to try out, but every time I made it so little of the sabayon actually dispensed that I was convinced that it was me doing something wrong and not the recipe.
I was encouraged to try it again after watching the Good Eats episode “The Proof is in the Pudding” recently, because Alton Brown makes a sabayon the traditional way but it looked like it might hold the secret to the issues I was encountering. It boiled down to a few key changes:
- Using more egg yolks (6 instead of 4) and more liquid (1/2 cup instead of 1/4) cup and more sugar (1/2 cup instead of 1/4 cup and a tablespoon)
- Whisking the egg yolks and sugar off the heat, then adding the liquid and a pinch of salt before putting the bowl on the bain-marie
The first change gave me more material to work with, while the latter meant that I was no longer cooking the eggs and sugar for too long prior to adding in the alcohol. The main point of the cooking is to both gently cook the eggs and create the foam but also let some of the alcohol cook out, and before when I was cooking just the eggs and sugar by the time I got to the appropriately foamy point the whole thing had cooked down too much and became too thick to dispense it properly. The foam I got here was both voluminous but not stiff, and when I poured it into the canister I had just enough to fill it to the max amount. The real test, though, came when I went to serve it–not only did I have enough to dispense for each of us, but I had plenty more to then give us each a second helping. (Granted, I use small glasses to serve this, but still–this is a triumph.) There’s still a good amount left in the canister itself that appears to be usable so needless to say I’m pretty excited how well this all worked out.
Sabayon (or zabaglione) is traditionally made with Marsala, but we don’t usually keep Marsala in the house so I typically use vermouth instead, and now that I have Casa Mariol’s vermut negre readily on hand, it was the natural pick to use here. It packs just the right flavor–spicy and sweet–and pairs deliciously with berries that serve as the traditional accompaniment. The pinch of salt Alton Brown recommends elevates everything to just the right amount, and it really is amazing how well the foam keeps its texture and consistency in the canister since I made it a couple of hours before dinner. Michael deemed it possibly the best dessert to come out of the iSi to date (and he loves him some yogurt foam), and now that I finally figured out how to bring it together properly I’m going to start making it more often.
Sabayon with Mixed Berries (iSi Whip/Cream Charger Edition)
with many thanks to Alton Brown’s recipe
Serves 4-6 depending on size of dish
- 6 extra large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup red vermouth
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Pint of raspberries and blackberries
- One pint size whipped cream charger and two N2O cartridges
- Infrared thermometer
Take a medium sized saucepan and fill with about an inch of water; bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.
Combine the egg yolks and the sugar into a glass, heat-safe bowl and whisk well until completely combined. Add the vermouth and the salt, and then place the bowl on top of the saucepan and continue to whisk, letting the mixture get very light and foamy and come to between 140 and 150 degrees, but do not let it over-cook. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool slightly before adding to the whipped cream canister, being careful to not go over the max fill line. Close the canister and charge with two cartridges, making sure to shake the canister between charges to distribute the gas. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
To serve: invert the canister and carefully dispense the sabayon into serving dishes, garnish with berries, and serve immediately.