SUNDAE SUNDAY: Don’t-need-an-ice-cream-machine, frozen champagne zabaglione with late-season strawberries


For those who don’t know, I gave up alcohol as my New Year’s resolution (and yes, I’ve kept to it!).  The only exception allowed: alcohol in desserts/food. And I’ve been sure to capitalize on this loophole through recipes like my brown sugar bourbon ice cream and this week’s Sundae Sunday line-up.

Between working with beer and sparkling wine, the “masses” on Instagram wanted to see a sundae with the latter.  Lucky for me, my friend recently gifted us a bottle of Chandon sparkling wine, and I was looking for a food-related way to use it.  (Unluckily for me, the reason I received the bottle was because said friend is moving to Miami from the Bay Area and was clearing out her house.)  

How am I using sparkling wine in a frozen fashion that isn’t just frosé?  Enter the (frozen) zabaglione, the Italian sibling of the French sabayon.  It’s a dessert of few ingredients — four, to be exact — and while it’s not traditionally served frozen, I’ve been curious to see how it performs as an ice cream stand-in and was pleased with the end result.  Also a fun fact: this recipe scales up nicely, making it a great way to easily serve a group and plan ahead of time.


Don’t-need-an-ice-cream-machine, frozen champagne zabaglione with late-season strawberries

By: Kathleen Hayes; specific recipe adaptations and yields shared below

Frozen champagne zabaglione - adapted from David Lebovitz; yield = 5 servings in 3” ramekins


  • 62g egg yolks (4 yolks)

  • 38g (organic) sugar

  • 59ml champagne or sparkling wine (¼ cup)

  • 96g heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks


  • Create an ice bath for your final mixture to cool down in a large mixing bowl.

  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar, and sparkling wine.

  • Place bowl on bain marie (on top of pan with 2” of water that’s at a simmer over medium/medium-low heat), and continue to whisk constantly.  The yolk mixture will become frothy as it heats up, and then will eventually start to thicken.

  • Once the zabaglione holds it shape when you lift a small amount up and drop it back on the surface of the mixture, take it off the heat and place in the ice bath. Continue to whisk occasionally until the mixture reaches room temperature.

  • If you haven’t already, whip the cream until it reaches soft peaks. Then fold it gently into the custard mixture, starting with ⅓ of the whipped cream, and then adding the remaining ⅔ once the first ⅓ is incorporated.

  • Using a ladle, scoop zabaglione into individual ramekins filled ¾ of the way up.  Place ramekins on a small sheet tray, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze for several hours.

Strawberries - sliced into thin rounds (optional: macerate berries in sugar for 15-30 minutes for a more syrupy topping)

*If you’re in the Bay Area, keep an eye out for Rodriguez Family Farm’s organic strawberries -- they’ve become my go-to farmers’ market choice since moving to Oakland.

Other accoutrement - grated pistachios, snickerdoodle cookie crumbs (from a recipe I’m excited to post later this week!), and rhubarb jam (last bit from THIS recipe)

Special equipment


  • Take ramekins out of freezer and let sit for 5-10 minutes to warm up ever so slightly.

  • With a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, pipe rhubarb jam on the zabaglione, choosing to pipe individual dots or a freeform design. (Side note: this was the first thing I’d skip if making again; it was good but definitely not necessary.)

  • Top each ramekin with several rings of sliced strawberries. Fewer strawberries looks more appealing because you can still still the zabaglione, but more strawberries tastes better. Your choice.

  • Dust with snickerdoodle crumbs and grated pistachios, if using.


  • Use marsala wine or a different dessert wine instead of champagne (marsala is the traditional choice in zabaglione).

  • Serve in champagne coupes or wine glasses.

  • Use whatever fruit is in season (I know many parts of the country aren’t as spoiled as the Bay with strawberries this late in the year)

  • If you’re short on time, skip the freezing step of this recipe and serve zabaglione at room temperature. I like a semi-frozen consistency best.

  • Make this dairy-free by whipping and folding in egg whites instead of cream.


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