Friday, January 1, 2010

Syllabub: Irish Coffee's Great-Great- Grandfather!




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
1 Pint of Heavy Cream
½ c sugar, put in a coffee grinder and ground till powdery.
1 egg white, whipped (optional)
¾ c Riesling wine
Grated rind of a lemon ( you can add the juice of the lemon if you want it more lemony)
A few gratings of Nutmeg
Rosemary sprigs for decoration & 1 Tb of needles for steeping.
Pour the Riesling wine, bruised rosemary needles, 1/2 the lemon rind, 2 T Madeira and 2 T of sugar into a container shake and let steep for an hour, covered.
Whip the cream with all but 2 T of the sugar, ½ the lemon rind, nutmeg and the Madeira (add the egg white if you wish).
Stir ¼ c. of the cream mixture into the wine (remove the rosemary needles if you would like) and pour the wine into 4 glasses. Top with the cream and put a sprig of rosemary in the glass.
* May I advise, this is best the next day (which is how it was often done) if you leave the rosemary in, the herb flavors the magic wine at the bottom...use a spoon and dunk down... or be wild and get a syllabub moustache!

Syllabub/Jelly Glass 1780/ Marris Antique Glass
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.
Syllabub/Jelly Glasses 1760- 1780 Marris Antique Glass
Whipt Syllabubs
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.

33 comments:

Becky said...

Oh, that looks like heaven! Definitely worth the extra workout time.

All Our Fingers in the Pie said...

That sure beats eggnog! It looks wonderful.

food with style said...

girl, you do great beverages! i so love rosemary... happy new year!

lostpastremembered said...

Becky, Sarah and Jain... I have been making all the historical drinks I've always wanted to try...the ones you see or read about in Jane Austen or Shakespeare. It has been so much fun... Leave the rosemary in overnight and serve it the next day... it makes it amazing!

Kate at Serendipity said...

Oh, I love syllabub! When I was in college, we tried to make it once. LOL, we didn't have a kitchen, only a dorm room. We had to whip the cream with a fork. We didn't have spices, either. We only had whipped cream (no sugar) and wine. I think it was liebfraumilch.

We were not impressed.

Now I wish we'd had your recipe. AND a kitchen! Thank for this post. Happy New Year!

lostpastremembered said...

Kate>You made me laugh...I think I was at that party! I bet you laughed yourself silly... and, honestly, they used to whip it with birch twigs (kinda like those Japanese chasen whisks for tea ceremony) so how bad would a fork be? Wish you were NYC way and we could share a glass!

Faith said...

I love that picture! This sounds decadently delicious, and I can just imagine the lovely aroma and flavor that the rosemary gives.

Burch & Purchese said...

Hey! Great post on a classic dessert. Thanks for your comments yesterday. Darren & Ian

lostpastremembered said...

Faith, thanks... the rosemary does make it special, and it is decadent.
Burch & Purchese, it is a lost classic... if you guys made it there would be cubes of wine and beautiful designs!

Ellie said...

I like Syllabub. Nice glasses you have :)

lostpastremembered said...

Thanks for visiting Ellie... I wish those were my glasses... they are spectacular... how they used to live in the 18th C!

Syrie said...

Sounds and looks simply stunning. I'd heard of a syllabub but never quite new what it was. Happy New Year!

Megan @ FeastingonArt said...

How lovely! I really like the first photograph

Trissa said...

I have never tried syllabub - but it looks delicious. Tell me, is it common to add rosemary? I find it to be a very strong herb - interesting to add it here. I'll have to try it.

peasepudding said...

Lovely website with all that interesting historical information around each subject. Thanks for dropping by mine, I've never had muffins made from potato, will do a search. Thanks, Alli

Barbara said...

Haven't made syllabub in years and I love the addition of rosemary!
Super glasses, again!
And I see you snuck in some of your lovely madeira!
I love your posts!

lostpastremembered said...

Syrie> It is one of those things that everyone knows the name but what it is is a little foggy!
Megan>Thanks, It sort of glowed..and I was playing with the new lens!
Trissa> Rosemary was commonly used to stir it,,,the astringent flavor really adds a necessary bright note in all that madeira cream!
Peasepudding>Thanks for visiting! History and food are fun for me. About the English Muffins... I tell all about them with a recipe in November in the blog..
Barbara>Me and my madeira... I am on a jag! Glad you like the glasses... I wish I could buy a few! 18th c. glass is very precious.

fromBAtoParis said...

Amazing research, and more amazing drink !!! I think I'll try it tonight!

It's freezing here in Paris !!! Congratulations !!!

Michael Lee West said...

This looks heavenly. I love your antique glassware and the story behind this drink.

lostpastremembered said...

Nice to meet you BAtoParis... it really is a great drink/dessert.
Michael> Your site is inspirational... thanks for visiting and glad you liked the glassware... it is really extraordinary stuff...

MªJose-Dit i Fet said...

Menos mal que existe el traductor porque si no me hubiera perdido esta estupenda explicación y esta receta tan deliciosa...un beso y feliz año nuevo

lostpastremembered said...

¿No es el traductor de los mejores! Se abre el mundo a todos! Cocinas tantos nuevos y recetas y amigos!

Dina said...

great recipe! love food history.

lostpastremembered said...

Thanks Dina, fellow NYC foodie! Please come back often!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I had no idea about the history of syllabub so thankyou for that! And what a gorgeous opening photograph. It just begs to be read about! :D

Linda said...

Beautiful...beautiful ...beautiful...

lostpastremembered said...

Lorraine> Thanks for the visit! Syllabub has been around forever... with the sweetest name... so Shakespearean (how he loved to make up onomatopoeiac words).
Linda>How kind... glad you like it!

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LILIBOX said...

The first picture is amazing!
so beautiful and delightful.
Thanks for your comment in my Food Box!

lostpastremembered said...

lilibox> pleasure was mine.. glad you like the photo!

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Courtneyzhvr said...

The first picture is amazing! so beautiful and delightful. Thanks for your comment in my Food Box!