Published September 1, 2002. From Cook's Illustrated.
A specialty pot that really works—but it's costly.
This beautiful copper pot is designed for one thing only: the making of zabaglione, an Italian custard sauce fabled for its restorative powers. Occasionally also called zabaione in Italian and known as sabayon in French, the sauce is made by whisking egg yolks and sugar together until thick, pale yellow, and creamy, then adding Marsala wine and whisking still more over a barely simmering pot of water until the mixture is light, frothy, and at least doubled in volume.
The deep, bowl-like shape of the zabaglione pan is thought to facilitate whipping, and we were curious to see if this was true. We did find it much easier to whisk the eggs in a zabaglione pan than in a bowl or small saucepan. The custard also seemed to cook more evenly in the zabaglione pan than in the bowl or saucepan, both of which collected more bits of overcooked egg. We can only speculate as to why, but it may be that the custard is moved about so efficiently in the zabaglione pan that not one drop remains in one place long enough to overcook. The pan, made of unlined copper, is also an excellent conductor of heat, which is why it is so important to cook the custard over a very low, gentle flame.