Syllabub – what a great old-fashioned word. First known use is back in 1537, even older than me then! Syllabub is used to describe milk or cream that has been curdled with an acidic addition – wine, cider, lemon and so on. It is usually sweetened and served as a dessert.
A book in my possession, a collection of old recipes, lists a syllabub recipe from the early 19th century that is formed from ½ pint sweet white wine, ½ glass brandy, a little lemon juice, sugar to taste and 1 pint cream. All is whipped together until very thick. The recipe below adds blackberries to form a stridently coloured syllabub which I’ve placed in brandy snap baskets rather than the traditional custard cups.
The amounts listed below make enough syllabub to fill 12 of these pre-made baskets. They don’t last long once filled for no one enjoys a soggy brandy snap.
Blackberry Syllabub in Brandy Snap Baskets
- 300g ripe blackberries plus more for decoration
- 85g caster sugar
- grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 300ml double cream
- 2 tablespoons Crème de Mûre or brandy
- 12 Ready Made brandy snap baskets
- Begin to whisk the cream and, as it begins to form soft peaks, add the blackberries, sugar, lemon zest and juice and the brandy. Continue whipping until firm, thick but light.
- Spoon into ready made brandy baskets, chill for half an hour then serve decorated with more blackberries.
Syllabub (or solybubbe, sullabub, sullibib, sullybub, sullibub—the is no certain etymology and considerable variation in spelling) has been known in England at least since John Heywood’s Thersytes of about 1537: “You and I… Muste walke to him and eate a solybubbe.” The word occurs repeatedly, including in Samuel Pepys’s diary for 12 July 1663; “Then to Comissioner Petts and had a good Sullybub” and in Thomas Hughes’s Tom Brown at Oxford of 1861; “We retire to tea or syllabub beneath the shade of some great oak.” Wikipedia