“We retire to tea or syllabub beneath the shade of some great oak.”
‘Tom Brown at Oxford’, Thomas Hughes, 1861 (Wikipedia).
Recently, I went to the extraordinary lengths of making Limoncello from scratch – a testament to my patience, if I do say so myself! It’s made for a delicious late-afternoon (okay, mid-afternoon) tipple, but it was time to test it out in a dessert recipe.
I decided to make a syllabub – an old English concoction which morphed, over the centuries, from a frothy alcoholic drink to a spiked cream dessert. It’s a simple, yet delicious way to round off a summer night’s meal (let’s quietly forget it’s mid-winter down here in NZ!).
I was inspired by a recipe from Delicious Magazine which paired a basic Limoncello cream with fresh raspberries. I loved the idea of the combination but, with raspberries out of season, I decided to pump up the flavour profile with some home-made lemon curd instead. That, along with the crunchy lemon sugar topping and some gluten-free lemon tuilles I made last minute (based on a recipe from Good to Know), ensured a truly satisfying eating experience.
Served in your prettiest dishes (like the crystal goblets I scored for next to nothing at a local charity shop), these old-English, turned Italian, dessert creams are sure to please!
- Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
- 3 tablespoons golden (or white) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
- 3 tablespoons store-bought lemon curd (or make your own)
- 300ml (10.1 fl oz) cream
- 1 tablespoon golden (or white) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 50ml (1.6 fl oz) limoncello
- 1 large egg white
- 60g (2.1 oz) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 30g (1 oz) gluten-free flour (or you can use plain flour)
- Optional: 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Few drops of lemon essence
- 30g (1 oz) butter, melted
- Grind the lemon zest with the caster sugar in a mortar and pestle until fine. It's a good idea to do this ahead of time - it will dry out the longer it's left and ensure a nice crunchy texture.
- In a small bowl, mix together with yoghurt and lemon curd with a spoon and set aside. In a large bowl, whip the cream with the sugar and limoncello until soft peaks form (it's vital you don't overwhip). Add half the zest mixture, and fold in with the yogurt/curd mixture.
- Spoon the cream into serving glasses and sprinkle with remaining lemon sugar to serve. Place in refrigerator to chill.
- Set the oven to 180°C (360°F).
- Put the egg white in a medium bowl. Whisk it lightly with a fork, then whisk in the sugar to a froth. Sift in the flour, add the lemon zest (if using) and lemon essence and mix in the melted butter.
- Put teaspoon lots of batter (I made four per baking sheet) spaced well apart on the lined baking sheet. Spread the mixture very thinly with the back of the spoon, into a wide rectangular shape, then bake for 8-10 mins, or until golden brown around the edges.
- As soon as they're out of the oven, slide an offset spatula underneath each tuille and as quickly as possible roll each one into a cigar shape (mind your fingers; it's hot!).
- Set aside to cool and crisp up. Cook the rest of the mixture in batches.
- Cool and store in an airtight tin. They will keep for a week, and for a month if frozen.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Continuous fluorescent lighting softbox