In Italian, sbaglione means “big mistake.” This happy accident may have been “mistakenly” invented in Florence—though it is usually made with marsala, the famous Sicilian fortified wine. The recipe eventually migrated to France, where it is known as “sabayon,” and is typically made using the local white wines. Feel free to swap out the Marsala in this formula as you like—writer Tammie Teclemariam suggests “fortifying” any non-fortified wines with a splash of Grand Marnier or brandy—or else replace the booze entirely with a few shots of espresso.

Serve the fragrant, frothy custard like a pudding in pretty glass bowls, use it as a sauce alongside cookies or fresh fruit, or incorporate it into a more elaborate dessert, such as a towering pavlova.

Featured in “Flavorful and Versatile, Zabaglione Is a Festive Way to Cap Off the Meal.”

Yield: serves 6
Time: 10 minutes


  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cups plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ cups plus 2 Tbsp. dry Marsala


  1. In a medium metal bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala until thoroughly combined.
  2. Bring two inches of water to a simmer in a medium pot. Position the bowl with the yolk mixture over the pot, taking care that the water does not come into contact with the bottom of the bowl. Cook, whisking vigorously and continuously, until the sauce turns pale yellow and very foamy and nearly triples in volume, 7–8 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking for another minute. Use immediately, or divide between 6 dessert bowls and serve at room temperature.

Zabaglione Pavlova with Pineapple and Black Pepper

Pavlova Recipe
Photography: David Malosh; Food Stylist: Simon Andrews; Prop Styling: Summer Moore

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