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Vanilla and Whisky Sabayon

April 27, 2010

This is my first effort courtesy of my new book, Sauces: Savoury & Sweet, by the venerable Michel Roux – and I should add at this point that it is a brilliant book for anyone wanting to get a little more serious about cooking.

I was enjoying one of those holidays that just sort of happen. They don’t ‘seem all that’ but are always the most relaxing and rewarding. Some of our friends had organised a stunning little cottage in Wales, brought some lovely wine and coordinated great company. The days were spent walking, drinking and eating. Not a bad two out of three as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway… This creation arose on the last night; lots of left overs and we’d just run out of wine. Tinkerbell, the lovely lady responsible for the crumble, had been thumbing through my book and the sabayon caught her eye. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any Saunternes or other sweet white wine. Now, it may have been the fact that I’d just tucked into the Auchentoshan, or that it really was all that was left in the house with an alcohol content – but an idea struck me. I would imagine you’ve also worked it out so let’s not dilly dally. Incidentally, the addition of the vanilla really lifts the whisky, so consider that when selecting an appropriate tipple.

I’ve never really had a go at desserts, and you’ll notice I mention neither the strawberries or the delicious apple & rhubarb crumble that feature in the photos (that are courtesy of Koenig – you didn’t think I improved that quickly!).  In fact, I am also hoping to have some guest writers to put forward some of the lovely desserts I’ve been fed over the years.

This served 5… only 3 if you’ve got a sweet tooth! If you want to do a classic sabayon; use 100ml of Sauternes or other sweet wine, and omit the vanilla and one egg yolk – that will serve 4.


  • 40g Sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50ml Whisky (we used Auchentoshan)
  • Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod

In a glass, heat, heat-proof bowl, whisk the yolks, vanilla seeds (remove by splitting the pod lengthways and scrapping the seeds out with the edge of your knife) and whisky together until combined, then do the same with the sugar -don’t stop whisking as you add the sugar bit by bit.

Now, place the bowl over some simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk until it forms thin ribbons. Take off the heat and continue whisking until you have thick ribbons.

Serve immediately. Finish by licking the bowl clean…

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2010 12:17 pm

    Hey, that looks tasty! I set myself a task a few years ago of mastering a few sauces and it certainly helps finishing off a nice dish, or dessert – I could still do with that book though!!

    • April 29, 2010 12:26 pm

      I am a serious sauceaholic and totally agree with you; they bring the dish together and just lift it that little bit more. One of my biggest pet peeves is when you have a chocolate dessert with a sauce of a totally different tasting choc sauce… it’s like someone clashing colours; it doesn’t work and it’s not clever! /endrant.

  2. April 30, 2010 3:18 am

    A masculine dessert. I like it! :)

  3. May 3, 2010 6:44 pm

    Looks excellent. I completely agree with you on Sauces by Michel Roux – one of my very favourite cook books.

    • May 4, 2010 8:21 am

      Cheers, RER. I have trouble reading it as I end up salivating all over the pages and get stomach cramp from being *so* hungry!

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