Shortbread Triangles w Strawberries & Espresso Zabaglione by The Boozy Chef

Espresso Zabaglione with Kahlua & Chocolate


I love the creamy, decadent richness of a well-made Zabaglione, and I’m so excited to share my newest version with you.  This recipe is made with espresso, chocolate and Kahlua, and it’s the perfect finish to a gourmet meal or served as a lovely afternoon dessert.

My original plan for today’s recipe was to make beautiful trifles with layers of fresh strawberries, Chantilly cream and Zabaglione to share with our new neighbors.

Trifle w Strawberry & Espresso Zabaglione by The Boozy Chef

But…  it was too good.

Unfortunately for my neighbors, the batch didn’t make it past the photo shoot before it was eaten up entirely between me and my kids.  It is just so yummy! 


Interested in other flavor combinations?  Pre-order my upcoming mini cookbook, “The Delicious Little Book of Zabaglione”The Delicious Little Book of Zabaglione - mini cookbook by The Boozy Chef and get recipes for this delicious dessert in variations created with Marsala, Moscato, Braschetto d’Acqui, Mandarin & Contreau (it tastes like an adult creamsicle), and more!

  • Over 25 varieties of Zabaglione in one little ebook with detailed descriptions of each flavor profile.
  • A “master recipe” so you can play with your own flavor ideas
  • Pre-order now – advance copies of this ebook will be available for download by April 15, 2016!


Zabaglione (pronounced /zäbəlˈyōnē/) is a rich Italian custard traditionally made with egg yolks, sugar and a sweet wine.  In the U.S. it’s most commonly made with Marsala wine, but more authentic Italian versions are made with Moscato D’Asti or other sweet sparkling spirit.  The eggs, sugar and spirit are whipped into a satiny custard and can be served plain, folded together with Chantilly cream, or accompanied by shortbread, cake, biscotti, or fresh fruit.

This version of  Zabaglione is a fairly easy dish to prepare, but does require focus and attention to process or it can be ruined quickly.  If your eggs scramble there’s not much you can do to recover from it other than to start over.

My best advice:  Don’t multi-task.  Just spend 10 to 15 minutes attending to this dish and it’ll be well worth it!

Gathering the ingredients and tools (mis en place)

  • Gather a whisk and assemble a double boiler – a round glass bowl over a pot of water works great. It’s important that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
    • You can start the water on high heat, but as soon as it starts to boil turn it down to low or medium-low. The water should be hot but not at a full boil.
    • It’s important to use a round glass bowl so you can get a good whisk going and avoid having undissolved sugar. A stainless steel bowl will work, too, but it’s harder to control the heat so a glass bowl is recommended.
  • Separate eggs – you only need 4 egg yolks for this recipe and it’s best if they are at room temperature when you start to cook.
  • Place 1/4 teaspoon of Espresso into a small bowl or cup; pour 2 TBSP of very hot water over the top (I use my Keurig to make the hot water, but a microwave would work, too).
    • If you want a more mild coffee flavor for your final dish, reduce the Espresso by half.
    • Place 1/4 cup of fine dark chocolate (72% cocao) in a dish; pour the hot espresso over the top and stir. If the chocolate doesn’t fully dissolve, heat for 10 seconds in the microwave.  Repeat until melted and combined.
    • Allow chocolate mixture to cool.
  • Add 2 TBSP of Kahlua to cooled chocolate mixture.

mis en place for espresso zabaglione by the boozy chef

Cooking Zabaglione

  • Place 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl first, then place egg yolks on top of the sugar. (This will prevent hard granules of egg and sugar from forming.)

IMPORTANT: Don’t walk away once the sugar and eggs are on the heat.  If you stop whisking, the eggs will quickly scramble and your dish will be ruined. 

  • Now whisk like crazy! The idea is to whip the egg yolks and sugar over indirect heat until the sugar dissolves and the egg yolks become light in color.
    • To test if the sugar is dissolved just dip your finger in and rub together. If it’s grainy, the sugar isn’t ready.
  • Once the mixture is light in color and the sugar is dissolved, add the chocolate/espresso/Kahlua mixture and a pinch of salt.
  • Continue to whisk briskly until the mixture is fluffy and thickened. When you raise your whisk, the mixture should leave a “trail” or it will heavily coat the back of a spoon.  This process generally takes about 5 to 8 minutes.
  • When done, remove from heat.


Serving Zabaglione

There are just soooooo many delicious options!!!

You can serve Zabaglione warm shortly after cooking.  It will be soft and is delicious served over fresh fruit.

Or you can serve it cold.

One option is to make Chantilly cream, then fold together with chilled Zabaglione.  This will mellow the flavor, which some people prefer; and it’s delicious served with fresh berries and almond biscotti.

If you haven’t made Chantilly cream before, it’s just heavy whipping cream whipped together with a bit of sugar and vanilla to taste.  If you’d rather have exact measurements, see Page 2 of the printable recipe below.  

Or you can serve Zabaglione chilled with the Chantilly cream as a garnish, rather than incorporating them together.

And it’s delicious served with Biscotti or shortbread cookies.


Make it a DRINK

You can double the espresso/chocolate/Kahlua mixture for this recipe to create a delicious drink, beautifully served over ice.  Cook only until slightly thickened, then pour over ice and serve with a garnish of fresh raspberry or strawberry.  Too thick?  Just thin it with more Kahlua until it meets with your preference for taste and texture.


Making “Strawberry Shortcake” with Espresso, Kahlua & Chocolate Zabaglione

This recipe makes a remarkable Strawberry Shortcake.  Simply layer Angel food cake, fresh sliced strawberries, Zabaglione and top with Chantilly cream.

Strawberry Shortcake is why my new neighbors didn’t get their gift today.  It’s so good, my girls and I just couldn’t stay out of it.  My, my my!

Strawberry Shortcake w Espresso Zabaglione by The Boozy Chef

I think it’s time to make more……..


But first, here’s the full recipe and printable version and the video version follows.  And please don’t forget to comment – I just love to hear from you!  🙂

Buon appetito!

Espresso Zabaglione - Recipe Card - 2 pages



P.S.  This dish is gluten-free and dairy-free “as is” – no changes needed.

P.S.S.  Don’t forget to pre-order “The Delicious Little Book of Zabaglione” for more amazing variations of this decadent dessert!  

The Delicious Little Book of Zabaglione - mini cookbook by The Boozy Chef


  • Linda Ellison Reply

    Hi Gail. So nice to hear from you again. Can’t wait to try this dreamy looking dessert. All the best.

    • Gail Kurpgeweit Reply

      Thank you, Linda! I hope you enjoy it – it’s one of my favorites! 🙂

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