Most days in order to happily eat dessert, I’ll put in some time at the gym.
It’s a well patented trade off. Frank Bruni needed to call in the services of a running parter to eat professionally on the NY Times’ dime. Jay Rayner seems to have a special relationship with his cross trainer.
For me, being married to an ex personal trainer has its benefits. For one, the enormous tubs of protein powder which squat near the kitchen are quite good to stand on when I need to bang the smoke alarm off.
Beyond that, The Hungry One is well versed in the alchemy of supersets. Truly, you should ask him about them some time.
And he’s patented the move of being able to motivate me with just a gentle raise of an eyebrow.
Yet yesterday the urge to work out had left the building and forgotten to take me with it.
But then I got canny, and I thought; what if dessert is a work out in itself?
Enter the sabayon. It’s a light frothy sauce, flavoured with booze. In Italy you’d call it a Zaibaglione and flavour it with marsala.
It’s a clever combination of egg yolks, sugar, booze. The magic ingredient is sweat. It takes about 5-10 minutes of whisking in a bowl suspended over simmering water to give it life.
So off we go. Three minutes in and my triceps are burning a little. There’s a twinkle in my forearms.
Six minutes and I need to swap arms. In my bowl I’ve now got a blonde blooming bubble of a sauce. There are also couple of beads of sweat on my brow. I could blame the heat of the bain marie, but I think we all know that it’s the exertion.
You can flavour a sabayon with almost any liquid; rosewater or champagne would be lovely. I’m curious to see how Cointreau one would work out.
But this one was made with Pedro Ximenex; The Hungry One’s favourite after dinner tipple. ‘Pedro’ is a sticky Spanish sherry that pairs pretty happily with a squares of dark chocolate.
By putting it to work here it gives the sauce an echo of Christmas pudding- the resulting sabayon tastes like the love child of custard and raisins.
We eat it with a tumble of blackberries and a dusting of dark chocolate. We both agree it’s a keeper.
When we’re brushing our teeth, The Hungry One casually asks whether I made it to the gym. I reply as truthfully as I know how;
Pedro Ximenex sabayon with blackberries
1 saucepan of simmering water. 1 heat proof bowl that fits over the top. 1 whisk.
4 egg yolks
75 grams castor sugar
4 tablespoons of Pedro Ximenex sherry
1 cup of blackberries
(Optional 15 grams of dark chocolate, grated)
Here’s how we roll
1.Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together in a bowl that sits snugly over the pot of simmering water.
2. When the mixture is pretty foamy add one tablespoon of Pedro. Keep whisking.
3. Add another tablespoon and keep whisking. Continue spoon by spoon until you’ve added all the sherry. This will take about 5-10 minutes.
4. Serve the sabayon warm the berries and chocolate, or if you want to serve it cold, remove it from the heat but whisk it intermittently while it cools to prevent it seizing or lumping.
In the bottom of a glass or a bowl crush a handful of blackberries with the back of a fork. Spoon two heaped tablespoons of the sabayon over the top. Then add more blackberries. Then more sabayon. Top with grated dark chocolate.