Sunday, April 29, 2012

Duck Egg Zabaione

Zabaione is a traditional Italian dessert. It is also known as zabaglione, sabayon and sabajon. Basically, it's a very light and boozy version of a custard.

I have seen many versions of this dessert and almost all are very good. However, I find that the major distinction between most recipes is that some cook their zabaione and others do not. My version is cooked.

To make this dish, you will need a double-boiler. I like to use a small sauce pan with a stainless steel bowl that fits on top.

Fill the sauce pan with a small amount of water. You will need just enough water so that it will not touch the bottom of the stainless steel pan.

I find that the richer the egg, the better the custard turns out. To make a twist on the traditional recipe, I'm making my zabaione with fresh duck eggs. You really can't get richer eggs than that!

If you are in the Greater Toronto Area, you can find fresh duck eggs at the following grocery stores:

1) Yummy Market (4400 Dufferin St., North York, ON M3H 6A8)
2) Btrust Supermarket (1105 Wilson Ave., North York, ON M3M 1H2) 
3) Lucky Moose Food Mart (393 Dundas St. W., Toronto, ON M5T 1G6)

By the way, I found that all of the duck eggs sold at the above stores are sourced in Ontario.

When looking at duck eggs, you will notice that their shells tend to be slightly darker than those of white chicken eggs. Also, they tend to be slightly larger than large chicken eggs. (As seen below, the duck egg is on the left and the chicken egg is on the right.)

For this recipe, you will only require the egg yolks.

To the yolks, add 1 teaspoon of sugar per yolk.

Using a mixer, whip the two ingredients together until the yolks take on a bright colour.

Now it's time to add the alcohol. Pretty much, any type of alcohol will do. Also, almost any amount will do. Personally, I like to use a combination of Marsala and Port. For the quantity, I like to use the half egg shell for measuring. For the amount of egg yolks that I have used (five), I find that using approximately 1 to 2 half-egg shell, filled with liquor, is enough.

Add the desired amount of liquor to the bowl and mix thoroughly.

When you are ready, transfer the mixture to your double-boiler. At this point, you will need to stir consistently, so that your eggs do not curdle. To help me out, I like to use my immersion blender.

Also remember that you do not want your water come to a rolling boil. You just want enough steam heat the mixture.

After a few quick minutes, check the zabaione for thickness. Coat a wooden spoon with the zabaione. remove the spoon from the liquid and drag a finger across the spoon. If a clear path is left, the zabaione is ready. It will be ready when you are able to successfully do this test.

Your duck egg zabaione can be had hot or cold. You can enjoy it by itself or:
- with fruit
- accompanying cakes or pastries
- with whipped cream
- with chocolate
- etc.

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