The Library is closed onsite, open online. See updates here.
A recipe from The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy, 1747, by Hannah Glasse.
Notes from cook Golda Mitchell
1. Sack is an antiquated term for a white fortified wine that came from Spain or the Canary Islands. I substituted it with a Spanish sherry.
2. Seville oranges are usually used for making marmalade. They aren’t as sweet as other varieties, like a navel orange. Harder to find in warmer months, you can substitute lemon, or for a modern twist use blood oranges. They have a slight tart taste and give the syllabub a lovely red tinge.
3. Conversions vary but the ratios listed below worked well. You can increase the amounts slightly to your taste — more alcohol for a thinner syllabub, more sugar for a sweeter one, and more cream for a thicker, pudding-like consistency.
4. Thankfully we now have electric mixers which make this much easier than it would have been in the 18th century. It does mean you do have to be careful not to overbeat or it will curdle. You want airy froth, not thick soft peaks.
5. It was probably more important to do this first when whisking by hand. Have the glasses filled ready to layer the froth on if you’re serving right away, otherwise you can make the syllabub ahead of time and chill. Then assemble just before serving.
6. Modern refrigeration means this isn’t necessarily the case although if left long enough the syllabub will start to sink into the liquid and mix.
7. Orange-whey ingredients (makes 1) 1 orange or lemon, 1/4 pint of milk ( half a cup), sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, fruit juice). Unless you’re a regular cheese maker whey is probably not a very efficient drink to make at home but it’s not unpleasant — tastes like tangy, sweet water.
8. I added a squeeze of blood orange to the glass to give it a pinkish-red tinge.
9. Made from the crushed-up cochineal insect native to tropical and subtropical America this red dye became a valued product for export to Europe in the 18th century.