IT’S GETTING darker earlier on an evening, the weather is getting chillier.

It can only mean one thing: summer is officially over.

Your days of barbeques and light dishes are numbered, so what you need this month is something to bridge the gap between summer and winter.

Nothing too heavy or stodgy, but something comforting and delicious that will make you care less about what is going on with the weather outside.

I didn’t have to wrack my brains for long before one dish sprang to mind: zabaglione.

From tiramisu to pannacotta to biscotti, dessert is one of many things that Italians have got right, but the recipe I wanted to share with you this month is for Zabaglione, an easy to make Italian dessert made of egg yolks, sugar, and marsala wine.

A zabaglione is technically a caudle, a warm drink that mixes wine (or any other type of alcohol) with eggs and sugar, which is often given to an ill relative.

At some point the noun ‘caudle’ morphed into ‘coddle’ which means to treat kindly, tenderly and indulgently – words which perfectly describe what it’s like to eat zabaglione.

Light enough for a summer dessert, but with a nip of alcohol to keep you warm on a cold night, whipping up this easy dessert will certainly hit the spot.

The story of where zabaglione originated, like most Italian dishes, is an absolutely fascinating one. Interestingly, there are many claims of origin for this dessert.

The original Piemontese version of the dish is said to date back to the 16th century, when zabaglione was more like a sauce than a dessert.

Some believe the Venetians invented the dish, others think it was the Medici family of Florence who first crafted it.

Other origin stories are even more intriguing, like the tale of San Bajon, a 16th-century monk from Turin, who is said to have created and named the dish, or Friar Pasquale de’ Baylon who – rumour has it – created the dish to ‘reinvigorate numbness’ in his parish.

My favourite origin tale, however, is that of the military captain from the 1500s who had to feed his troops with minimal ingredients.

Apparently he sent his men to raid local farms and they would return with eggs, sugar and fortified wine – the basic ingredients for zabaglione.

There are many reasons why zabaglione is a great dish for making at home. The first is that it is very quick and easy to whip up, with minimal effort and only a few basic ingredients required.

Another reason why zabaglione is a brilliant dessert is because it is customisable, with many a chef putting his or her own twist on the dish to give it a completely different flavour.

Zabaglione can be served over fresh fruit, topped with lemon zest or infused with chocolate, and it can be made even more indulgent with the addition or whipped cream or served with crunchy biscotti to dip in it.

Before you begin customising your zabaglione, I would recommend making a simple version of the recipe before making changes to suit your taste. Zabaglione is a simple dish, and often – as the saying goes – less is more.