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Why would you beat egg yolks in a bowl above a pot full of hot water? I've seen this technique used in recipes on YouTube. Sometimes they add sugar. Does the heat help increase the volume or is it something else?

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Egg yolks are often cooked in a bowl above simmering water (also known as a double boiler), so that the egg yolks can cook/thicken without solidifying and scrambling. This is a common technique used when making custard, for example.

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    This technique is called 'au bain Marie' – ElectronicToothpick Aug 3 at 8:37
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    the resulting preparation is called sabayon in French or zabaione in Italian – Agos Aug 8 at 8:02

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