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Apple Cider Zabaglione: A Fancy Name for a Tasty Sauce

November 21, 2010

After several months working as a kitchen assistant for Sur La Table’s culinary classes, I’ve been recently upgraded to instructor! I’m thrilled that my boss has such confidence in me and I’m excited to share the skills I’ve learned with other people.

But…apparently my boss overestimated my skills. The first class I was set to co-teach involved me teaching a recipe of Poached Pears with Zabaglione. As well-practiced as I’ve become at making mousses, choux pastry, sponge cakes and pastry cream, I’ve never once made zabaglione (also known as sabayon). Perhaps because it is of Italian origin and, as I’ve said before, my pastry instructor is very French. When I suggested we make something with pumpkin last week, you would have thought I’d asked to make something with Cool Whip. Clearly not French and clearly not worth his time.

Nervous as I was to teach for the first time, I definitely didn’t want to show up with little clue of what I was doing. I needed to practice. Using what I had on hand (apple juice), I whipped up (literally) my own version of this classic egg-based, booze-laced sauce.

Though a little time-consuming and a test of arm strength, the finished sauce had beautiful airy texture and a rich, bright flavor. Spicy, sweet, with a little kick from the Triple Sec. Spooned over a warm piece of your favorite gingerbread, this sauce would be a stand-out at your next holiday party. Besides, doesn’t it just sound fancy? Za-bahl-yo-nay! Ta da!

Apple Cider Zabaglione


  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp Triple Sec or Grand Marnier


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider, brown sugar, molasses and spice. Bring to a full boil and let reduce by half, about 10 minutes. You want to end up with 1/2 cup liquid. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring several inches of water to a simmer. Meanwhile, combine the reduced cider mixture with your egg yolks and Triple Sec in a heatproof glass bowl that fits over your saucepan to make a double boiler. Be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
  3. With the water at a low simmer, set the bowl over the saucepan and whisk constantly until the mixture is pale, thick and airy, about 10 minutes. The mixture should reach 160 degrees F.
  4. Serve warm, room temperature, or chill in your refrigerator (you can make this the day before you need it!).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2010 9:27 am

    great adaptation and it sounds much better than the original to me!


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