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Mixed Berries with Zabaglione

Mixed Berries with Zabaglione
This version of zabaglione, a cousin to the traditional one made with Marsala and served warm, uses dry white wine and is whisked over ice until cool. Lemon-flavored whipped cream is then folded in. A dash or two of cinnamon adds a touch of spice to each serving. You can make the zabaglione topping 2 to 3 hours ahead of time and refrigerate it. Stir well before spooning it over the berries.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups assorted ripe berries, such as
      strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
      and blueberries, in any combination
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbs. plus 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Ground cinnamon for sprinkling
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions:

If using strawberries, remove the stems and cut in half lengthwise or, if large, cut into quarters. Place all of the berries in a bowl and toss to mix. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the wine and then with the 3 Tbs. sugar. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour, tossing carefully every 20 to 25 minutes.

Using a fine-holed grater and holding the lemon over a saucer, grate the zest (yellow part only) from the lemon; be sure to scrape off all the zest clinging to the grater. You should have 1 tsp. Set aside. Have ready a large bowl of ice cubes with a little water added.

In a heatproof bowl or in the top pan of a double boiler, combine the egg yolks and the 1/3 cup sugar. Using a whisk, beat until light colored and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup wine and whisk until well blended. Place the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan. Whisk continuously, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl each time, until the mixture has tripled in volume and is quite thick and creamy; the top should stand in soft folds. This will take 10 to 15 minutes; be careful that the mixture does not get too hot or it will curdle.

Quickly nest the bowl in the bowl of ice and continue to whisk until the mixture is cold; be sure to scrape the bottom and sides often, as the mixture thickens when in contact with the cold surface of the bowl. This will take 15 to 25 minutes; the mixture should be very thick.

In a separate bowl, using a clean whisk or an electric beater, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Stir in the lemon zest. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the egg mixture until thoroughly combined. Use the zabaglione immediately, or cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours; stir well before serving.

Spoon the berries into bowls and top generously with the zabaglione. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and garnish with mint leaves. Any leftover zabaglione can be covered and refrigerated overnight, then whisked briefly to recombine.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Chuck Williams Collection, Simple Italian Cooking, by Chuck Williams (Time-Life Books, 1992).