TO MAKE SABAYON OR ZABAGLIONE
birth of Haute Cuisine . . . . .
are all saddened by the passing away of the Queen Mother
this week. The Queen Mother was one of two Royals I
never cooked for - Fergie being the other. I never cooked
for her, but I did once chat to her through the bars
of Windsor Castle when I was a chef at a Hotel close
by. She was an icon of a by gone era, an era of poise,
of grace and of old world values. Many of us will miss
her endless support of charities and being always so
this week's planned recipe seems very appropriate, as
it celebrates the birth of another queen and of classic
French cuisine. Saturday 13th of April sees the anniversary
of Catherine de Medicis' birth . . . okay, so she would
be four hundred and eighty-three years old if she was
still alive, but still worthy of a mention. Who? You
ask? Not a name that would be familiar to many I know,
but as you will know this column is always about learning
as it is about fun and cooking.
de Medicis, was born in Florence, Italy on April 13,
1519. She was the mother of the last Valois kings of
France. In 1533 she went to France as the bride of the
future king Henry II, (who became king fourteen years
later in 1547). When Catherine arrived in France she
also brought with her a retinue of master chefs, who
in turn introduced many of the Italian staples: milk-fed
veal, baby peas, artichokes, broccoli and of course
all their pastas. For the first time, the French court
also tasted such delicacies as quenelles (fish dumplings),
scaloppine and what we now tend to know by the French
term Sabayon or, to give it, its original Italian name
'Zabaglione' (Zah - bag - lee - ohn - ee).
de Medicis, therefore, by many, is thought of as the
'mother' of French cuisine; the one who started French
cookery on a course that produced the most complex and
refined cuisine in the Western world.
in celebration, I thought we would visit sabayons this
week. Such a luxurious, velvety dessert and also the
basis for many other dishes and sauces also. All one
needs is four ingredients, that you probably always
have, so it is a great standby dessert for when friends
pop around or your planned dessert goes slightly astray.
of you may know this dish from holidays in Italy, where
it is served as commonly as milk shakes are in the UK
and USA. I love it served over crumbled, Italian almond
macaroons with some sliced, toasted almonds folded through
the sabayon before I pour it into the glasses.
for Sabayon or Zabaglione
to make Sabayon
the yolks and sugar into a round based bowl and whisk
until almost white
add the wine and Marsala while whisking
the bowl over a bain marie and whisk until it is three/four
times the original size and is light and fluffy, it
should hold onto the whisk and mound nicely when dropped
from the heat and whisk until cold
into champagne flutes and serve with a light biscuit
like Madeleines or Italian macaroons. It is best consumed
within 30 minutes of production.
Tip for Sabayon or Zabaglione:
bain marie is more commonly called a 'double boiler'
. It is used when gentle cooking is required. When
using ensure there is only enough water to cause steam,
the boiling water should never be allowed to touch
the bottom of the bowl or it will 'burn' the ingredients.
Marsala and wine may be reduced by gentle simmering
before hand for a more intense flavour but without
the alcoholic content.
flavours may be added to taste: port, sherry in place
of the Marsala or Grand Marnier, Grappa, etc in place
of the wine
may also be used as a light sauce with a little whipped
cream folded in. Or make a decorative plate of tropical
fruits, a whole poached peach or fresh, mixed berries
and spoon the sabayon over, glazed with a blow torch
or under a hot salamander / grill for a minute.
and bon appetit . . . . .
quantity (add to taste)
meaning a whole one of
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