Sometimes you just need an ultra-fast dessert recipe you can whip up in a jiffy. Something that’s quick, easy and fail-safe. This Strawberry & Lemon Syllabub is just such a dessert.
With only a few hours to spare yesterday, I had to come up with something for an impromptu family dinner. And, in the full-on heat of our New Zealand summer, it needed to be light and refreshing. I’d had this syllabub recipe from Taste.com.au saved for ages and had never gotten around to making it. I think it was because I’d never tasted a syllabub and wasn’t sure I’d like it.
What is a syllabub? It’s a centuries old English dessert which started out as a sweet drink made of wine or cider, into which citrus juice and milk were added (preferably straight from the cow’s udder to ensure it was frothy). According to British Food History, King Charles II so enjoyed this tipple that he kept cows at his palace for just this purpose, often walking up to a cow to squirt some milk directly into his jug of alcohol. Come the 19th century, the concoction had developed into a more solid dessert form, using whipped cream instead of milk, along with some lemon, wine and added brandy.
These days, the basic syllabub is often paired with fresh seasonal fruit, making it a spiked fruit fool of sorts. Sweet dessert wine is commonly used, though you can use any liquor you prefer. I used a particularly lovely dessert wine from New Zealand’s Stables winery in the Hawkes Bay area (Stables Ngatarawa, 2015, Late Harvest). Paired with the softly whipped cream, a good dash of lemon juice and zest, and some fresh, sweet strawberries, it made for a light, delicious and refreshing way to round off a hot summer’s night dinner.
I wonder now why I waited so long to try a syllabub, but I’ll undoubtedly be making it again, perhaps exploring other flavour combinations. Certainly, it’s a wonderful dessert to make when you’ve got limited time yet still want to impress.
STRAWBERRY & LEMON SYLLABUB
- 8.8 oz strawberries, washed
- 10 fl oz cream
- 1/2 cup dessert wine
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Reserve a whole strawberry to decorate the top of each dessert. Hull the remaining strawberries and thinly slice.
- Combine the cream, wine, sugar, lemon rind and juice in a bowl. Use a metal balloon whisk to whisk until soft peaks form (be careful you don’t overwhip or it will curdle).
- Place half the sliced strawberries among serving glasses and spoon over half the syllabub. Continue layering with remaining strawberries and syllabub. Top with reserved strawberries to serve. You can put in the fridge to chill, or serve straight away.