Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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syllabub is an English sweet milk or cream dish containing wine or cider and served as a light froth or curd. It was one of the wet sweetmeats of the banquet or dessert course. See dessert. Although syllabub is first mentioned in literature in 1537, recipes do not appear in print until the following century; some of them indicate that it was occasionally made in the field by milking a cow into a bowl of cider or wine. More often, however, the cream and other ingredients were agitated with a whisk, or shaken in a bottle, to create an aerated curd. In the early versions of the dish the mixture was left to rest overnight and allowed to separate into a clear liquid below, with froth above. In the late seventeenth century, glass pots with spouts were used to serve this sort of syllabub. The alcoholic whey at the bottom was sucked through the spout and the froth eaten with a spoon. One popular variation known as whip syllabub was made by spooning off the bubbles created by whisking and laying them on a sieve to drain. The resulting froth was extremely delicate and was floated on top of sweet wine or whey. Syllabub glasses, with bell tops to support this topping of foam, evolved during the course of the eighteenth century, replacing the older spout pots. A later development was the everlasting or solid syllabub, really an alcoholic whipped cream, made with a higher ratio of cream to wine. It was also favored as the topping for layered trifles. See trifle.