My first visit to the Hacienda de San Rafael in Seville, Andalucia, was wrapped in mystery. Upon arriving, I encountered a silky classic sabayon lavished over fresh red raspberries that reminded me of my southern childhood. Everything that followed after that captivated me.

That being said, my first meeting with chef Isabel, I consider invisible. I distinctly remember her touch, this deliciousness that showed itself on the plate with energy, attention and flavor. I wanted to meet her. She drew me in like a moth to a flame. “She’s shy”, my friend Anthony said. I had to wait a week, then I was allowed into her kitchen. I felt like I knew a bit about her by the essence of her food. Shy indeed, but her food was bold and spoke volumes. She knows her territory, steeped in history and sherry.

This Classic Sabayon reminds me of her. Sweet, potent, and feisty. Not at all shy.

1/4 cup Pedro Ximenez Sherry
6 egg yolks
80g sugar (approx 1/2 cup)

Chef Isabel’s Speedy Preparation

In a mixing bowl combine egg yolks and sugar. With an electric mixer, whip at medium-high speed until ribbon consistency.

On a stainless-steel bowl set over a water bath (Bain Marie) on the stove at medium heat, warm the sherry until small bubbles appear on the edges (light simmer). Whisk in egg and sugar mixture and whisk constantly until warmed through – a few minutes. Don’t overcook or eggs will curdle. Remove from heat and serve sabayon over sliced fruit.

Traditional Classic Preparation

Fill a saucepan or pot (large enough to hold a round-bottomed stainless-steel bowl) two-thirds with warm water, and heat gently.  Pour the sherry into the top bowl of the Bain Marie, then add the egg yolks, whisking as you go. Carry on whisking as you shower in the sugar.

Continue whisking the mixture over the heat so that it gradually thickens, making sure that the temperature of the water in the pan increases steadily but moderately.

After 8-10 minutes, the mixture should have reached a light ribbon consistency.  It is essential to keep whisking all the time.  When the temperature reaches 55ºc, the sabayon is cooked.

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