The key to a zabaione that’s sun-yellow like the ones in Bologna is finding really, really fresh eggs with orange-yellow yolks. Speak with the farmers at your local farmers’ market to see what they’re feeding their chickens. A diet high in greens, bugs, alfalfa sprouts, and sometimes corn will yield healthy hens and especially orange yolks. But even if your zabaione looks more like vanilla cream than lemon curd, the texture—a dense but meltingly light foam—is cause for celebration.
- Fill a medium-size saucepan halfway with water. Set it over medium heat.
- Put ice in a large metal or glass bowl, fill it halfway with water, and set aside.
- In a copper or glass bowl with a round bottom, whisk together yolks and sugar until thoroughly combined. The sugar in the mixture will still be visible but should not be clumpy.
- Add rum, Galliano if using, wine, and salt. Whisk to combine. Mixture should be liquidy but homogenous.
- When water in saucepan starts to simmer, set bowl of egg mixture on top of it and whisk constantly, scraping bottom and sides of bowl to keep mixture from sticking. If using a gas stove, watch flames—they shouldn’t leap up the sides of the pot. Lower heat if necessary. Water should stay at a steady simmer; if it boils, it may cook the egg mixture too quickly.
- Continue whisking, watching as mixture begins to thicken into a dense foam. It will expand but should be smooth. When the mixture has formed a stable foam—it should drop off the whisk in a ribbon; the whisk will leave a trail on the surface—remove the bowl from the heat and place it into the bowl of ice water.
- Continue whisking until the zabaione cools slightly.
- The zabaione should be served immediately, while still slightly warm or just cool.
- Spoon over berries, cake, or ice cream, or stir a spoonful into an espresso.
Daniela Galarza is a writer and reporter who covers food, restaurants, cooking, and culture. She used to be a pastry chef. These days she puts her culinary degree to use by making birthday cakes for friends. She lives in New York with her dog Frito.