Delightfully Whipped Syllabubs

Sweet recipes and desserts exploded in popularity during the 18th century. Cook books from that time are full of sugary treats that are as assorted in form as you can imagine. As delicious as many of these treats were, it can be a bit perplexing that they didn’t survive — at least in the North American context. The Syllabub is an example of a yummy dessert that for some strange reason has fallen into obscurity.

Syllabub was always a dessert beverage. Trying to define it further is a bit complicated. This is because the characteristics of syllabubs vary greatly. Recipes from many books, from over a broad span of time, call for many different wines, densities, processes, and flavors. Even just within Eliza Smith’s The Compleat Housewife (1739), are three very different recipes for Syllabubs. To simplify things we will talk about just one fantastic version; the whipped Syllabub.

recipe whipt syllabub

While it may be difficult to concisely define a syllabub, don’t despair! You should see the variety as a green light for your creativity! Feel free to embellish, add, subtract, substitute or change the recipe however you desire. With syllabubs, if you imagine it is delicious, it will be — this is undoubtably one of the reasons why there are so many variations in the first place. In the video below Jon and Michael make a few variations of Smith’s “Whipt Syllabubs”.

Whipt Syllabubs

Ingredients

For the drink

  • approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup of white wine per serving (Smith’s recipes call for Sack or sherry, Rhenish White Wine, or Claret, but feel free to use another white wine or even hard cider. For a nonalcoholic version try white grape juice or apple juice.)
  • about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar per serving (you may wish to eliminate the sugar altogether if you’re using a sweet wine)

For the topping

  • 1 cup white wine or juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons (less if you desire a less-tart topping)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • garnish with grated nutmeg and a squeeze of lemon rind

Directions

For the drink

 

Combine the wine and sugar and stir until dissolved.

Silly1

For the topping

Combine the wine or juice, the lemon juice, and a 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Silly2

Once the sugar is dissolved, mix in the heavy cream.

Silly3

Whisk the mixture until it forms soft peaks.  This can be done by hand or with a mixer with a whisk attachment.

Silly4

Serving Procedure

Fill each of your serving glasses until about half full, then top with the whipped cream topping.

Silly5

Garnish with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg and squeeze of fresh lemon rind.

Sit back, relax, enjoy your syllabub. For yet another variation, stir the whipped topping with the drink to create what was called a “jumble syllabub.”

Silly6

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This entry was posted in 18th Century Cooking, Beverage, Historic Cooking, Recipe, Video and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Delightfully Whipped Syllabubs

  1. Rebekah says:

    Silly me! Since I’m starting school on Monday and I’ve been preparing by purchasing textbooks etc, when I read this title, I saw it as Whipped “Syllabus”! 😀 😀 The beverage sounds refreshing though!!

  2. Jewel says:

    Syllubus is FANTASTIC – I have made for the last 3 Christmas’ and will do so again this year.

  3. Mr. Morgan says:

    Was intrigued by this old desert. I made it for my family as an additional treat for our Thanksgiving dinner, and they were an amazing hit! It was so easy and so delicious! We used non alcoholic drinks of Apple Cider, Cherry Sparkling Cider, Cranberry Sparkling Cider, and White Grape Sparkling Cider. We did discover however that the carbonation in the drinks slowly pushes the whipped topping up and out of the glass. We used the white grape as the main flavor in the topping. Thank you James Townsend and son for giving us an amazing new tradition to add to our Holiday cheer!!!

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