My grandparents are from all over; I’m a mixture of German, Scandinavian , English and Irish. So would someone please tell me why I love all things Italian? My theory is that a female in the family made a clandestine visit to Italy once, came home after a fling with a handsome Italian man and unbeknownst to anyone else, started the genetic pool of Italian blood that I know runs through my veins.
I love Italian food, architecture, wine and well ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ which of course, is the dream I envision coming true at any moment. I fancy my home to have an Italian feel to it though it is a Cape Cod style on the outside and in moments of abject reality I know that having wine bottles placed everywhere for decor does not really qualify. But please do not burst my bubble…a girl can dream, right?
When presented with this months Recipe Swap challenge to make Zabaglione as inspired from a restaurant in Chicago I was excited. I knew it was a custard made with Marsala wine and that was about it. My sweet friend Lora at Cake Duchess was my polar opposite; no biggie for her. Probably because she feeds her family Zabaglione for snacks. And you should hear her say it…really, I’m pathetic; just hearing her accent makes me swoon. I know if I ever heard her hubs Fabrizio speak Italian it would be all over. No, I would not be all over HIM…but I might cave and buy that one way ticket to the place I’ve never been that I know I have romanticized beyond compare.
Zabaglione is typically made using egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine. But I had a bit of champagne left over from New Years and though I do have a system for removing air to try to preserve freshness, I knew using it in cooking would be a better idea than drinking it. So I decided to make Zabaglione using Champagne. Though following on the heels of the season of overindulgence and sweets; this might be indulgent but the champagne and cranberries keep it from being overly sweet. It
was is simply fabulous (I’m saving it for this week when some friends come over…or at least I’m going to try!).
A quick web search to see if that had been done resulted in finding this dish from Chef Billy Paresi and I just had to, with a few of my own revisions of course! Cherries became cranberries and I used brown sugar in the custard mixture for the bread pudding. The original recipe also called for whipped cream but I have to tell you…topping it with some cranberries that I candied in a Champagne simple syrup was a good call. It’s plenty rich without whipping cream, the cranberries are heavenly and they add such a nice visual touch too!
Happy Birthday Laura!
I’ve decided that any dessert this sophisticated and amazing must be in celebration of something. So I’m making it for my baby sister Laura as a belated birthday celebration; her birthday was this past Wednesday. Now…she might not be a baby anymore but our 16 year age difference meant she was ‘sort of’ my baby once many years ago and that will never change. She lives in Wisconsin so we seldom get together but it doesn’t mean she goes unremembered on those special days. Neither of us really need gifts from each other but I only wish she was here sharing this with me. It’s wonderful, it’s pretty and hey Laura…it’s vegetarian too! XOXO
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup Champagne
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 4 large or 6 medium croissants
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 cup Champagne
- Combine the sugar and champagne over medium heat, bring to a boil until sugar dissolves; lower heat.
- Add the cranberries and let them cook until they just start to burst. Remove them from the heat and let them cool in the syrup in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Tear croissants into 1 inch pieces and place them on a sheet pan; put them in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and dry.
- Scrap the seeds from the vanilla bean and mix with 2 cups heavy cream, 6 eggs yolks and brown sugar. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Butter a round souffle or rectangular casserole dish and scatter the bread cubes over the bottom; sprinkle with the dried cranberries.
- Pour the vanilla bean custard evenly over the croissants and berries and place the dish in a deep pan. I used my turkey roaster for this. Fill the pan with warm water halfway up the sides of the souffle dish.
- Cover the large pan with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 350° for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of your dish.
- About 10 minutes before the bread pudding is finished, make the zabaglione.
- Using a double boiler fill with water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the insert and heat on high.
- Whisk 3 egg yolks, ⅓ cup sugar & champagne in the pan.
- Beat vigorously until thick and foamy; about 8-10 minutes; it should be ready at the same time as the baked bread pudding.
- Pour the zabaglione over the bread pudding and top with the candied cranberries.
- Serve warm.