Saturday 27 September 2008

Recipe: Chocolate Zabaglione

I have a cold. I think a lot of people do at the moment - there's something going round. It's the sort of flu-type, slightly achey affair that doesn't exactly lay you out, but is quite debilitating and makes life in general noticeably more challenging than it would be otherwise. Hence, Chocolate Zabaglione...Dessert last night was intended to be Amaretto Souffl├ęs, but when it came to the crunch I decided I just didn't have the energy,and took refuge instead in one of my standard fall-backs, Zabaglione. No prep, practically instant, and the sort of sophisticated comfort food that is perfect when you're feeling under the weather.

"Can it be Chocolate?" the Technical Department asked, when I mentioned the change of plan. I'm not sure where that came from - not having heard of such a thing previously - and neither was he, really...a vague memory of having read something, somewhere perhaps. I dismissed the idea of melting block chocolate and adding it to the Zabaglione mixture, as I'm sure that would have a disastrous effect on the final texture, making it heavy and glue-like, rather than light and unctuous. No...the way to do it is with a small amount of bitter chocolate powder, and replacing a little of the usual alcohol (Marsala or Sherry, depending upon which country I'm in) with some Creme de Cacao instead.

The result was dreamily excellent! Precisely what the doctor ordered....

For Two.

Ingredients: 2 oz Sugar (this is one time when you can't use Splenda instead - the texture is quite wrong); 4 Egg Yolks; 7 tablespoons of Marsala or Cream Sherry + one tablespoon of Creme de Cacao (or eight tablespoons of Sherry or Marsala, if Creme de Cacao isn't available); 1 generous teaspoon of dark Chocolate powder (I used Green + Blacks)


1. Combine all of the ingredients either in a zimmertopf or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk everyting together using a hand whisk (not an electric beater), and keep whisking evenly as you maintain a medium heat under the pan.

2. As the Egg Yolk cooks, you will see the mixture become thicker and emulsify into a satisfyingly dense texture. This takes perhaps five minutes.
The challenge with Zabaglione is knowing exactly when it's done - if you stop too soon, then the mixture will separate out once you've poured it into serving glasses, and if you let it go too far, then the result is a first cousin to scrambled egg. It should be ready to serve once it is the same unctuous thickness all the way through, so if in doubt you should reach to the bottom of the mixture with the whisk and beat once or twice energetically to see that there is no un-enmulsified mixture left at the bottom of the bowl.

3. Serve, poured into large wine glasses.


Anonymous said...

This sounds v.good. Much better than a choc souffle which I have just made and found much too rich*. The recipe came from an old Observer/J Grigson/Ann Willan series on French Food. *Very old Fashioned I guess. On another note you wrote that you use metal beans for baking tarts blind. Where did you get your's?I got mine from E David's shop ( where I worked during the summer of '68....)Can one still find them.

Pomiane said...

I think you mean a VERY old Observer series on French Food....I was a wet-behind-the-ears munchkin at J Walter Thompson when that series came out, and The Observer was my advertising client at the time...I still have it in a folder gathering dust on a bookshelf somewhere...
Re metal beans, I suspect mine were also E David...I used to browse quite often in the shop she briefly had in Covent Garden. Best place to look for anything (practically) these days is Ebay, I if they still exist - or even if they don't - I'd say that was your best bet.