Zabaglione al Caffé

February  3, 2011
Photo by Bobbi Lin
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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
In This Recipe
  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.

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