18th Century Syllabub
Category: Desserts & Sweets | Blog URL: http://lostpastremembered.blogspot.com/2010/01/syllabub-irish-coffees-great-great.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Deana Sidney
Syllabub is the great-great-grandfather of Irish Coffee
As a contributor noted on the delightful “Diary of Samuel Pepys” (with daily entries from Pepys 17th C diary and modern commentary) “Syllabub was a popular dessert in seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth century England. It was popular for celebrations, special occasions and holidays due to its festive appearance. Many original recipes survive with various modes of preparation. Generally Syllabub was made with a mixture of whipped cream, whipped egg whites, white wine, sugar, lemon juice and zest of lemon. "
“The quantity of white wine used dramatically alters the finished dish, allowing the cook to produce either a creamy dessert or a thick, rich punch. Drinkers of the punch, easily identified by a milky white mustache, would be equally pleased if the white wine were replaced with cider, though they’d also be satisfied with a dash or two of sherry.
“In the seventeenth century, a milkmaid would send a stream of new, warm milk directly from a cow into a bowl of spiced cider or ale. A light curd would form on top with a lovely whey underneath. This, according to Elizabeth David, was the original syllabub. Today’s syllabub is more solid (its origins can also be traced to the seventeenth century, albeit to the upper classes) and mixes sherry and/or brandy, sugar, lemon, nutmeg, and double cream into a custard-like dessert or an eggnog-like beverage, depending upon the cook.”
Syllabub (from Sir Kenelm Digby's The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened):
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.
From "The London Art Of Cookery and Domestic Housekeepers' Complete Assistant", 1811 by John Farley.
Rub a lump of loaf sugar on the outside of a lemon, put it into a pint of thin cream, and sweeten it to the taste. Then put in the juice of a lemon, and a glass of Madeira wine or French brandy. Mill it to a froth with a chocolate mill, and take it off as it rises, and lay it into a hair sieve. Then fill one half of the glasses a little more than half full with white wine, and the other half of the glasses a little more than half full with red wine: lay on the froth as high as possible ; but take care that it is well drained on a sieve, otherwise it will mix with the wine, and the syllabub will be thereby spoiled.