The night of the last lunar eclipse, we were having people over to dinner and I had a surplus of pears I wanted to poach. I wanted something both richer and lighter than whipped cream to serve alongside, but had a paucity of marsala. So my zabaglione transformed into sabayon, and a creme brulee torch transformed it into the best thing I’ve ever made. Since then, I mostly just spoon it over fresh berries piled in a martini glass, and garnish it with a single berry and a sprig of mint, that way the caramelized whipped custard is the star of the show, not just an accompaniment. It’s really good even if not caramelized, but the torch really takes it to the next level.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Total: 20 min.
  • Active: 20 min.

Ingredients (4)

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. whip cream until soft peaks form, set aside
  2. simmer 2-3″ water in a saucepan
  3. whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl that you can comfortably suspend one-handed over a pan of simmering water until pale and lemony
  4. whisking constantly, suspend just above the water. gradually add the wine. you must keep whisking to prevent the egg from scrambling. the mixture should become thick and frothy and triple in volume. if that’s not happening within a couple of minutes, submerge the bottom of the bowl in the simmering water. if you’re concerned about uncooked eggs, test with a thermometer to ensure that the mixture has reached 140F.
  5. once mixture is glossy and tripled in volume, remove from heat, but keep whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch.
  6. gently fold whipped cream into custard
  7. plate as desired. cover and refrigerate if serving later. immediately before serving, use either a kitchen torch or your broiler to caramelize the top. if using the broiler, preheat and then watch carefully. you want the top to be just browned.