Mattonella allo zabajone

Mattonella allo zabajone, zabaglione, zabaione, sabajun, semifreddo

Oh dear… 

Mattonella allo zabajone

Mattonella allo zabajone, zabaglione, zabaione, sabajun, semifreddo, gelato, ice-cream

… yes, always something to learn in the cartoon kitchen…

A delicacy typical of the Piemonte region of Italy (other regions claim the honour too, and the variant names: zabaglione and zabaione). It can be served as a custard to accompany a dessert, or as a dipping cream for choice biscuits such as lingue di gatto (cat’s tongue).

One of Trota’s favourite ways with zabajone is to make a so-called ‘mattonella’ (brick), a semi-freddo very similar to ice-cream, which can then be sliced and served at a moment’s notice.

You will have to rest it in the freezer in a small loaf tin wrapped in cling film, so make sure you’ve organised that before you start.


For the custard: 2 egg yolks, 65g granulated sugar, 75ml milk (warm), 125ml double cream, 50ml Marsala wine. For the shell and the decoration: about 100g Savoiardi biscuits, about 100ml Marsala wine, 35g dry amaretti biscuits crushed and lightly soaked in a further 10ml Marsala wine.

In a Pyrex bowl whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (the water not touching the bowl) and gradually add the Marsala wine, still whisking, then the warm milk, a little at a time too. Keep whisking and cook gently for 15min or so, until the custard gains consistency and would coat a wooden spoon. The trick is to keep whisking – look away for more than a moment and it will become scrambled eggs, so remove any distractions (such as annoying dogs and husbands) and focus on the task at hand.

When the mixture has thickened, take it off the heat and allow to cool while you prepare the loaf tin. Line the tin with sufficient cling film (you need to be able to fully wrap the content once you have built your mattonella). Slice the Savoiardi biscuits lengthways, lightly dip them in the Marsala wine and line the base and four sides of the tin (reserving some for the top).

Fold the cream into your (now cool) zabajone custard and put about half of it into the tin. Spread, then sprinkle with the crushed and soaked amaretti. Add the rest of the zabajone.

Use the reserved Savoiardi (lightly dipped in the remaining Marsala) to cover.

Close the cling film over your mattonella and place in the freezer for a few hours, better still overnight.

When you are ready to serve take out of the freezer, unwrap the cling film and slice into portions. We decorated with mosto cotto and another sprinkle of crushed amaretti. This is a dessert that never fail to impress. Convenient too: the alcohol means it never freezes solid, so you can take it out and serve without having to allow for partial defrosting, unlike ice-cream. Oh… and did we mention that it is d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s?

So, Salmon, nothing personal (and I’m sure it will all clean up nicely), but next time perhaps you’d be better off going fishing – and, er, maybe taking Fidget with you?