Have you tried lemon syllabub yet?
This traditional British recipe is also known as old English syllabub. It's full of old fashioned spices, including all spice, cloves and cinnamon, but it's deliciously light and creamy.
The lemon and spiced brandy cream dessert sits on a bed of crushed ginger biscuits, giving it the feel of a cheesecake, but so much quicker.
Perfect for making ahead, this boozy dessert is great for entertaining. It's made in just a few minutes and only takes an hour to set.
Go and grab a spoon!
The basic recipe for lemon syllabub, or everlasting syllabub, can be traced back prior to the 17th century in Cornwall, when it is said to have been made by pouring fresh milk, straight from the cow, on to spiced cider or ale and creating a frothy foam as a drink.
After a time, the recipe evolved to use cream, wine and spices to create a dessert on it's own. It can also be used as a topping for trifle or as a sauce.
More importantly, there are so many ways that you can vary this dish by adding fruit, biscuits or changing the flavours too.
This version is the traditional spiced version, but feel free to leave out the spices entirely if you prefer.
Why you will love this recipe
- 3 basic ingredients.
- Takes just 5 minutes to make.
- Only takes an hour to set.
- Perfect for easy entertaining.
- So simple to change the flavours.
- No complicated techniques.
- Light and delicious!
- Cream - double cream, (heavy cream), as it has the fat content that allows the cream to whip.
- Cloves - ground cloves. You can also pinch the top of whole cloves, which can be turned to a powder in your fingers.
- Cinnamon - ground cinnamon.
- Nutmeg - gives a real nuttiness to the taste. For best results, grate from a whole nutmeg.
- Sugar - caster or fine sugar so that it incorporates into the cream easily.
- Lemon - zest and juice of an unwaxed lemon.
- Sherry - I've used a cream sherry.
- Biscuits - ginger biscuits.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Lemon squeezer - optional
Zest the lemon, taking care to take off only the yellow, as the white pith is bitter.
Juice the lemon. If you don't have a lemon squeezer, cut the lemon in half and squeeze over a bowl and use your other hand to catch the pips.
Put the spices, sugar, zest, lemon juice and sherry in a bowl and stir so that the mixture dissolves.
💭 Top Tip
- Traditionally, this mixture was left for an hour and then passed through a muslin to remove the zest and pieces of spice.
- Reserve a little of the lemon zest to garnish before serving.
Pour the cream into the spice mix, whisking continuously.
Continue to whip until the cream reaches the soft peak stage.
This is when it just holds its shape, but is still very soft.
It's very easy to overwhip cream and turn it into butter, so be cautious.
If you have a food processor break the biscuits roughly and process until the biscuits become crumbs.
Alternatively, put the piscuits into a plastic bag and use a rolling pin or can to break them up.
Divide the biscuit mixture between 4 glasses.
Divide the lemon syllabub between the glasses
⏲️ Chilling Time
Leave in the fridge for an hour to set before serving.
🥗 Serve with
If you don't want to use a crumbled biscuit base then serve with a delicious biscuit on the side for dunking and munching.
Desserts like this
- Chocolate Delice
- Chocolate Bavarois
- Baileys Crème Brûlée
- Tarte au Citron
- Chocolate Marquise
- Raspberry Parfait
- Lavender Crème Brûlée
- Strawberry Eton Mess
- Chocolate Meringues
- Nutella Macarons
- Chocolate Mousse
- Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart
- Baileys Sabayon
- Cream - use whipping cream or a dairy free substitute.
- Biscuits - use graham crackers.
- Spices - use half a teaspoon of ground all spice instead.
- Naked - Serve this dish on its own, without the biscuit crumb base if you prefer.
- Chocolate Orange - use the zest and juice of an orange and mix with some grated chocolate.
- Lime - use the zest and juice of 2 limes.
- Fruity - swap the crushed biscuit base for raspberries, chopped strawberries, passion fruit or other fruits of your choice.
- Biscuits - use digestive biscuits or speculoos or even crushed oreos.
- Child friendly - leave out the alcohol and spices then grate some chocolate over the top instead.
- Sherry - use white wine, dessert wine, limonchello or your favourite liqueur.
- Refrigerator - store for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
- Freezer - not suitable for freezing.
Both of these dishes mix dairy with alcohol, originally creating a curdling effect.
However, syllabub, also known as everlasting sylaabub, is served cold and doesn't separate.
Posset is served warm, very typically as a drink, and often given to people who are sick. The milk was heated and then curdled by adding spiced wine, spirits, or ale. Egg yolks were often added as a thickener or to create a smooth thin custard-like drink. Later, lemons and oranges were used as part of the flavoring and for their acidic juices to aid the curdling. By the mid-18th century posset tended to be thickened with ground almonds, crushed biscuits, or egg yolks instead of alcohol.
More British puds
- Bread and Butter Pudding
- Macaroni Pudding
- Eve's Pudding
- Treacle Tart
- Apple Crumble Tart
- Lemon Meringue Tart
- Lemon squeezer (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 50 g caster sugar
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 4 tablespoon sherry dark cream
- 300 ml double cream
- 120 g ginger biscuits
- Zest and juice the lemon.
- Put the spices, sugar, zest, lemon juice and sherry in a bowl and stir so that the mixture dissolves.
- Pour the cream into the spice mix, whisking continuously.
- Continue to whip until the cream reaches the soft peak stage.
- Break the biscuits roughly and blend in a food processor until the biscuits become crumbs.
- Divide the biscuit mixture between 4 glasses and top with the syllabub.
- Leave in the fridge for an hour to set before serving.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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