September 07, 2007

My French Kitchen Shelf Sabayon

Above my custom designed 8-burner stove (necessity is the mother of...) is a shelf. Not just any shelf, but a large green-waxed wide shelf pounded into the stone walls of Camont. On this shelf sits the day-to-day kitchen detritus and museum pieces of my French Kitchen including the full-moon lapin.

Below the shelf is line of cast iron hooks from a long ago butcher's shop. Where once hung sides of beef, whole hams and strings of sausage, I hang...
garlic, shallots, three Piments d'Espelette,


& colanders.

You'd be surprised at how people don't respect this gentle hand-written direction. Returning to the French Kitchen after time spent teaching abroad, I find a stray coffee mug, a potholder, or worse yet, a frying pan marring my deliberately designed clutter. It's enough to make a Cook go mad. Imagine beginning a perfect sabayon to pour over bursting ripe figs and then have to go looking for that balloon whisk missing from it's 'at-hand' location!

Oh, the perfect sabayon? I use David Lebovitz' fabulous recipe from his "Ripe for Dessert"book. Instead of adding the sugar and wine to the egg yolks, he adds the sugar to the wine cooks it and then adds the hot wine syrup to the eggs. It has been faultless for me and my cooking class students feel like pros immediately! Merci David for being the Perfect Scoop on all thing sweet!

These are my own changes to the recipe to accommodate my hand-whisked kitchen and local ingredients. I use an armagnac-based aperitif- Floc de Gascogne, and the deep golden yolks from my neighbors farm.

Sabayon a la Gascogne
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup Cotes de Gascogne

While the sugar and wine are heating together in a small sauce pan,
whisk the egg yolks vigorously in a large bowl until light and foamy.
Once the sugar has dissolved into the wine, pour the wine syrup little by little into the eggs yolks whisking all the time and singing 'Amore Mio' along with Pink Martini at the top of your lungs.

Now return the egg/wine/sugar mixture to the sauce pan over low heat. Continue to whisk until you notice the first signs of thickening. At this time, I switch to a very soft silicon spatula for stirring. As soon as I notice the foamy whisked top of the mixture is no longer separating from the eggy bottom I remove the pan from the heat. Rather than plunging a hot pan in ice water to arrest the cooking (sounds an extravagant use of ice cubes to this boat person) , I toss the sabayon back into the cool egg yolk bowl and whisk a little more as it cools. Eh, voila! That's it, too simple.

It looks like this poured over a few of those bursting ripe figs from my kitchen terrace tree.


David said...

glad the sabayon was a hit! And I promise when I come back to put everything exactly right back where it belongs...

Jane said...

Your kitchen is beautiful.


Joanna said...

LOVE the kitchen ... the shelf and the hooks, and most of all the 2 sets of burners set into a table ... why didn't I think of that??

Great sabayon, by the way!