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Recipe: Frozen chocolate zabaglione

Last summer, L.A. Times Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter became fascinated with zabaglione, the velvety Italian dessert sauce made with egg yolks, sugar, a little bit of alcohol, and not much else. She came up with several delicious variations, but the one we liked best was this one, kind of a cross between a semifreddo and an ice cream. It doesn't freeze as hard as ice cream does, so the texture is a bit more delicate. And the flavor is out of this world, particularly this version, in which the flavor of bittersweet chocolate is perfectly accented by a hint of Port.

Frozen chocolate zabaglione

Total time: About 25 minutes, plus freezing time

Servings: 8

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1 pint heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup Port

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat just until it begins to bubble around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in the chocolate, and continue whisking until the chocolate is melted and incorporated with the cream to form a ganache (gently heat the cream a little more, if necessary, until the chocolate melts and mixes completely).

2. Remove the ganache to a large bowl set over a bowl of ice and continue to whisk until the ganache chills and begins to thicken. Keep whisking until the ganache has a light, whipped cream-like consistency. Remove the bowl from the ice bath and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until combined and frothy. Whisk in the Port.

4. Set the bowl over a large pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Continue to whisk until the mixture increases in volume and thickens to a thick, foamy cream, easily coating the back of a spoon. The consistency should be similar to that of a very thick hollandaise.

5. Remove from heat and gently fold the zabaglione into the whipped ganache. Place the mixture in a baking dish or bowl and cover the surface with a sheet of plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, about 11/2 to 2 hours. This makes a generous quart of frozen zabaglione.

Each serving: 479 calories; 5 grams protein; 33 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 36 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 240 mg. cholesterol; 25 grams sugar; 30 mg. sodium.

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