Makes 4 servings
This elegant foamy custard is a traditional Italian dessert that's best eaten right after preparing, but it doesn't take long to cook this sensual dessert while your guests wait. The secret is not to let the mixture get too hot, but hot enough to thicken and cook the egg yolks. I like to have fresh berries ready in advance to sprinkle over small servings of the rich, warm custard. For extra dazzle, use stemmed wine or martini glasses. And I also accompany the dessert with Italian sponge fingers or small biscotti for dipping.
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup sweet Marsala wine
Half fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a simmer (not a boil) over medium heat.
Pour the egg yolks and sugar into a heatproof bowl that will fit into the saucepan. (A copper bowl is traditional for making this dessert, but not essential.) Or, you can use a double boiler. Beat the egg mixture with a hand-held electric mixer or whisk until pale and creamy.
Place the bowl or top of the double boiler into the saucepan and gradually pour in the Marsala wine. Continue to beat with the mixer or a whisk for 4 minutes or until it reaches a temperature of 140°F and begins to thicken. (It's important not to overheat or the eggs may curdle.) Continue beating for 3 more minutes to ensure that the eggs are cooked. The mixture will become light and frothy, it will approximately triple in volume, and the mixture will make a trail when dropped from the beaters.
Serve immediately in small dessert bowls.