Nigel Slater's classic syllabub recipe

Syllabub is one of those ancient desserts that seems to be showing its face again. I am never sure whether to believe the story that this dessert was originally made by milking a cow directly into a bowl of wine, verjuice or cider, as some early recipes suggest (you can trace the recipe back to the Tudors), but I like the tale enough to at least give it house room. Early efforts involved the thickened cream being served floating on sweet wine.

THE RECIPE

At its purest, the recipe involves dissolving sugar in lemon juice and sweet wine or brandy, adding a long curl of orange peel then leaving it to infuse overnight. The following day, double cream is introduced and beaten until thick. I use the grated zest and juice of one lemon, 2 heaped tbsp of caster sugar, 60ml sweet wine and a dash of brandy, leave the mixture overnight, then beat in 300ml cream.

THE TRICK

The whole business of infusing the sugar and alcohol with the orange and lemon probably seems a bit hocus-pocus, but the process shouldn't be skipped: the flavour is more mellow if you let it sleep overnight. The crucial part, and where this dessert stands or falls, is in the whipping of the mixture. Use a large balloon whisk or electric mixer and beat slowly, getting right to the bottom of the mixture. Watch the texture like a hawk. Stop as soon as the mixture starts to feel heavy on the whisk, when it will sit in soft folds, like a duvet. If you take it too far it will curdle quicker than you can curse.

THE TWIST

Good as it is, the odd embellishment is no bad thing with this recipe. A drop of Eau de vie, perhaps Framboise or Kirsch adds a welcome kick, as does some crushed ginger in syrup, or even a spoon of ginger marmalade. I have had it with a hint of nutmeg, a little rhubarb and flavoured with lime juice and zest. Nigella offers us a particularly fragrant twist by using Cointreau, orange flower water and rose water, to give it a Turkish feel

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.