Classic zabaglione is made with dry Marsala, but I like the way a spicy, floral Riesling pairs with ripe summer fruit. Look for an Alsatian-style dry or off-dry Riesling, or try Champagne, Sauternes, Vouvray, or Marsala, varying the amount of sugar to balance the sweetness of the wine.
Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Set a large metal bowl on top of a pan of barely simmering water over medium-low heat (the water level should be about 2 inches below the bottom of the bowl). Put the yolks and sugar in the bowl and whisk vigorously until the yolks begin to thicken and lighten in color. Pour in the Riesling and continue whisking until the mixture is thick enough so that the whisk leaves a trail as it passes through the mixture. This may take 5 to 10 min., depending on the heat of the water. Remove from the heat and whisk for another minute or so.
In a small bowl, dissolve the softened gelatin in the boiling water. Slowly whisk this into the zabaglione. Set the custard bowl over the ice-water bath to cool while you whip the cream to stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream and liqueur into the custard. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours but no more than 24 hours.
To serve, arrange the fruit in six parfait glasses or dessert bowls. Spoon the zabaglione over the fruit and garnish with the cookie crumbs.
Make Ahead Tips
The gelatin prevents the zabaglione from separating in the refrigerator and lets you make the dessert up to a day ahead. If you plan to make the dessert the day you serve it, you can omit the gelatin, but be sure to chill the custard for 2 hours.
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Photo: Scott Phillips