Zabaglione al Caffé

By • February 3, 2011 34 Comments

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Author Notes: When I was little, my mom would make us “caffé col’uovo sbatutto” (coffee with beaten egg). It may sound gross, but it’s really delicious. In a coffee mug, she’d use a funky springy whisk to beat an egg yolk with a few teaspoons of sugar until very foamy, then pour in good strong coffee, and mix it up. We loved it. This recipe is inspired by that memory.mrslarkin

Food52 Review: WHO: You know mrslarkin from her contest-winning scones and scone bread.
WHAT: A coffee-based custard to inspire dreams of Venice.
HOW: Combine egg yolks, sugar, and cardamom into a thick, pale yellow custard, then whisk in espresso for a treat that belongs in a piazza.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Thick and frothy, this simple mixture is quick to whip together into a dessert to appease both sweet and savory lovers alike. Either spoon it over pound cake or add it to strong coffee for a bittersweet end to an evening—or decadent wake up call.
The Editors

Serves 3 or 4

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Seeds of 3 to 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 half-eggshells full (about 2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) espresso or strong black coffee
  1. Bring 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan.
  2. In a heat-safe bowl that is large enough to sit over your saucepan without touching the bottom, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cardamom until thick and pale yellow.
  3. Set your bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the hot water, or you might make scrambled eggs. (A double boiler will also work well.) Add the espresso to the egg mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture is foamy and doubled or tripled in volume. Remove bowl from saucepan.
  4. Serve immediately over slices of cake, or spoon into pretty bowls and serve with lady fingers, biscotti, or tuiles. Or, pour some over a demitasse cup of espresso—that’s my favorite way.

Tags: breakfast, coffee, snack

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Comments (34) Questions (0)

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4 months ago Kukla

Congratulations! This looks like an easy, but a very tasty and elegant dessert!

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4 months ago LE BEC FIN

mrs.L, congrats! I loooove coffee and cardamom together.So smart of you to call for the cardamom seeds; they have such a lovely pungency! Plse tell me, does this taste like a crème anglaise but richer and without flour thickener? How long does it usually take you from start to finish?
And does it retain its volume when chilled? Last question- if you folded in whipped cream and froze it, would you pretty much have a semifreddo?

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4 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hi LBF! Thank you! It's very similar to creme anglaise. It takes no time at all if you have all your ingredients prepped (i.e. make your espresso first and get your cake and/or cookies ready). It does not retain it's volume when chilled - at least I don't think so - I've never done that. It's meant to be eaten immediately. But if you fold in whipped cream and froze it, I think in that case it would be very much like a semifreddo, which sounds delicious!

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4 months ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh boy! I so love Zabaglione/Sabayon, and also coffee flavored desserts. This is definitely going on my short list.

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4 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

The coffee + cardamom combo sounds marvelous. I've never put the two together. Looking forward to trying this! ;o)

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4 months ago Midge

Oh wow, sounds so good. Congrats Liz!

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4 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations Liz, I am so honored and happy to be in the finalist circle with you. I have made your zabaglione on more than one occasion and can attest to how wonderful it is personally, Best of luck. Yay for the Italian theme this time.

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4 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow, congratulations on being a finalist! Hard choice this week! XO

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4 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks, drbabs!! I agree, definitely a tough one.

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over 4 years ago testkitchenette

Fantastic. Lovely memory sharing as well!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

thanks, tk!

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over 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Love your coffee measure!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

:)

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over 4 years ago dymnyno

No I don't think it sounds gross!!!! Isn't eggnog made with raw eggs? This sounds very sophisticated. Your blue and white cup and saucer look gorgeous too!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks so much, dymnyno!! (I love my cup and saucer, too. Thx!)

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over 4 years ago Lizthechef

I love this recipe as well as your shot and covet that gorgeous cup!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks, Liz! That's from my Spode Italian demitasse set. Love the blue and white.

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over 4 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Hi mrs l,

could not find cardamom pods but found ground -- do you think that would work as a good substitute and if so, how much would you suggest? thx!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

hmmm...not sure as I never buy ground cardamom, BUT I would probably start with 1/2 teaspoon ground. I think if you are able to smell the aroma of the spice when it's whisked in at step 2, you'll be good. Definitely keep looking for fresh pods in your travels - they are amazing.

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over 4 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

thx! ended up using about a fourth and it turned out great -- poured it over a nice espresso....decadent!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

so great to hear!! now I'm craving an espresso and some more of this. :)

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over 4 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

wow! this looks amazing...can't wait to try! :-)

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

thanks cfwg! hey where have u been? we've missed u.

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over 4 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

I've been off finishing a writing project -- so glad to be back on a bit -- missed you guys too!

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over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This looks perfect to make tomorrow! Love it!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks, ChezSuzanne! Let me know how it turns out!

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over 4 years ago Deb Smith

Super duper grown-up yum! I cannot wait to try this!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks, Deb! Let me know if you make it!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

nice!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

thanks!

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over 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Yum, mrslarkin. I'd be happy to eat this with a spoon!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks, hla! Me too! :)

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over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Sounds perfectly delicious! I cannot wait to try it. And I LOVE the measurement instructions for the espresso. What a great recipe, and what a great mother you have! Grazie mille for posting this. ;o)

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Prego, AJ! Glad you like it. Do let me know if you try it!