If I had to pick a country’s cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would have to be Italian. Disregarding the resulting enormity of my thighs, of course. There just seems to be infinite possibilities surrounding a love of simple ingredients. Endless varieties of pasta and risottos to keep me entertained for a long while. And Italian puddings are often so decadently creamy, and don’t have the fiddly precision of French desserts – both epitomised by this recipe.
As is often quoted, ‘tiramisu’ means ‘pick me up’ in Italian. This is due to the fact that it is laced with coffee and a more than generous (in this recipe, anyway) amount of booze. This is one of my go to recipes when I bring a pudding to a party, and has, on more occasions than I’m willing to admit, made a perfect hangover breakfast the next day.
The combination of alcohol suggested seems to vary a bit in between recipes. One most have in common is Marsala wine, a sweet fortified wine originally from Scicily. So I used this, along with amaretto liqueur, as I have a long-abiding love of the stuff.
So far on the blog, I have strictly alternated between sweet and savoury recipes. I’ve mostly done this for the sake of my waistline – to stop me getting too carried away with puddings. But I got so excited when I made zabaglione for the first time that it simply couldn’t wait.
I’ve always been aware of the existence of this famous Italian dessert, but never eaten it or made it before. I had to ask an Italian who comes into the café where I work how it is pronounced. It took him a while to decipher what I meant by ‘Zabag…Zabagglionee- you know….that frothy thing with eggs..’. ‘Zabalyioney’, is correct, if you’re wondering. Said in an Italian accent with lots of gesturing. Almost as much fun to say as it is to eat.
Zabaglione only has three ingredients: egg yolks, sugar, and alcohol. But this is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. There is a magical moment during the whisking when the mixture increases in volume, morphing into this amazing foamy, meringue-like substance. It is traditionally made with Marsala wine, but I used amaretto liqueur, as I love the stuff. I also added some crushed amaretti biscuits to give a bit of textural contrast to all the voluptuous creaminess.