This is a very simple syllabub recipe from Sir Kenelm Digby from 1669 – “My Lady Middlesex’s Syllabub” is a fresh-tasting creamy white wine syllabub flavoured with lemon zest. It is simple to make, and it can be made in advance, Sir Kenelm even suggests making it the day before, and only serving it when some of the wine has settled out of the cream to the bottom of the glass. Although we have chosen to flavour it with his suggestion of lemon zest, he does offer other ingredients to flavour the syllabub, choose as you will … at Christmas we would recommend adding in a little (1/2 tsp) of the suggested ground cinnamon and a grating of fresh nutmeg on the top before serving.
My Lady Middlesex makes Syllabubs for little Glasses with spouts, thus. Take 3 pints of sweet Cream, one of quick white wine (or Rhenish), and a good wine glassful (better the 1/4 of a pint) of Sack: mingle with them about three quarters of a pound of fine Sugar in Powder. Beat all these together with a whisk, till all appeareth converted into froth. Then pour it into your little Syllabub-glasses, and let them stand all night. The next day the Curd will be thick and firm above, and the drink clear under it. I conceive it may do well, to put into each glass (when you pour the liquor into it) a sprig of Rosemary a little bruised, or a little Limon-peel, or some such thing to quicken the taste; or use Amber-sugar, or spirit of Cinnamon, or of Lignum-Cassiæ; or Nutmegs, or Mace, or Cloves, a very little.
My Lady Middlesex’s Syllabub Recipe
Makes enough for 6 glasses.
- 600ml double cream
- 200ml Spanish white wine
- 100g icing (powdered) sugar
- 1 tbsp of golden caster sugar
- zest of 1 lemon (and 1 tbsp of lemon juice)
- 1 leaf from a rosemary sprig
at Christmas add in
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- grate over fresh nutmeg to serve
When mixing this much liquid into a thick cream it is better to do it by machine, (an electric whisker) rather than trying to whisk it by hand.
Into a bowl (under the electric mixer) add the cream, golden caster sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest and start the machine beating and whipping the cream on a steady setting. After a minute start to slowly pour in the wine (stop after one third) then add in one third of the icing sugar, stop, then another third of the white wine etc. until all the wine and sugar have been added. Turn the machine up to a faster setting and whip the cream until greatly thickened and soft peaks can be maintained. Do not over whip!
Spoon this creamy syllabub evenly into 6 Martini cocktail glasses (or similar). Set these in the fridge for an hour to chill (or over night if following Sir Kenelm’s direction). When you want to serve add a sprig of rosemary into the top of the syllabub.