It's Week 1 of the Colony's 2016 Great Colonial Cook Off (WOOT! WOOT!) and we've decided to kick things off with a culinary classic... Syllabub. Think of it as the 17th century version of a frappuchino - a light, frothy head of cream foam floated on top of a sweetened liquid.

Syllabub, the 17th century frappuchino. Photo: LearningLark

Syllabub, the 17th century frappuchino. Photo: LearningLark

More drink than food, syllabub is quick and easy to make (especially when you can substitute an electric mixer for a birch twig whisk!) and looks totally impressive when garnished with a sprig of mint or rosemary, or a twist of lemon peel.

Many of the original recipes incorporate some form of alcohol (sweetened wine, sherry, port, or hard cider), but at least one recipe (preserved by 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys) uses fruit juice as a base. In fact, the real beauty of Syallbub is that it's just begging you to make the recipe your own. Here's a 1674 version from The Queen-like Closet by Hannah Wolsey:

Take one Quart of Cream, one Pint and an half of Wine or Sack, the Juice of two Limons with some of the Pill, and a Branch of Rosemary, sweeten it very well, then put a little of this Liquor, and a little of the Cream into a Basin, beat them till it froth, put that Froth into the Sillibub pot, and so do till the Cream and Wine be done, then cover it close, and set it in a cool Cellar for twelve hours, then eat it.

And here's our first kick at a 21st century version (FYI, the recipe can easily be halved):

3 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups of a beverage of your choice (be creative!)
1 ½ lemons (juice and peel)
1/2 cup sugar or to taste

  • In a large bowl, finely grate the lemon peel and juice the lemons.
  • Add your beverage of choice, then add sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the cream all at once and whisk until it's light and frothy (Tip: Your mixture should be just starting to thicken, but not as stiff as whipped cream).
  • Gently spoon your mixture into tall glasses and let stand. If left at room temperature, the mixture will magically separate into two distinct layers - a clear, coloured liquid on the bottom and a fluffy cream layer on top) in about two hours. Once separated, pop the glasses into the fridge until ready to serve OR fill your glasses and put them directly into the fridge. The cold will slow the separation process to about six hours. 

Easy Peasy! In the Colony's kitchen, Lori is starting things off today with a wild blueberry syllabub made from home made blueberry syrup.

What's your "house syllabub"? Give it a go and post a pic on Instagram, Twitter or the Colony's Facebook feed. All posters will be automatically entered into a draw for ... are you ready .... a picnic for two with the award winning Lighthouse Picnics. Deadline for posting is end of day Wednesday, July 20, 2016.

Jane Severs5 Comments