Monday, January 7, 2013


Dear Marg,

We had a party last night...

I was in charge of dessert and since Pemba and I had agility that day, it had to be an easy one. The word syllabub seemed to imply some sort  of an olde english dessert so I did some research. Lots of recipes on line, of varying degrees of olde-ness. All suggested a mixture of alcohol, sugar, lemon juice and cream. The most colorful one suggested I combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl and then milk the cow into the bowl until it was full. I didn't think the Scottish Highlanders would stand for that. Does she look like she wants to be milked in to a bowl?

I went with a mish-mash of the recipes I found, based on common sense and what was in the pantry. 

  • 1/3 cup sugar (make it a heaping 1/3rd)
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/6 cup Grand Marnier (I know this is an odd measurement but I used half of a 1/3rd measure)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup whipping cream

  • I mixed the first five ingredients together and let it sit overnight, which actually ended up being about 20 hours. Most of the recipes didn't do this but Nigel Slater said that step shouldn't be skipped as it makes the flavor more mellow. 

    After dinner I added the cup of cream and with a whisk began to whip. Tentatively at first, for Nigel had also warned that overbeating was a risk. "Watch the texture like a hawk", he says. "Stop as soon as the mixture starts to feel heavy on the whisk, when it will sit in soft folds, like a duvet. If you take it too far it will curdle quicker than you can curse."

    When the cream began to thicken but before it was fully whipped I added the wine mixture. More whipping, gently, gently. Stopped short of the cursing point and plopped it into some of Gram's glasses. 

    Wow. It was light and gay, a perfect balance of sweet and tart. It was angel's food, before those words were sullied by that disgusting cake. It was perfect. 

    The cookies are a pecan crisp that I made over Christmas. I'll give you the recipe. You definitely want it.

    Love, Elise

    PS Mom thinks Syllabub would be a good name for a pit bull. If anyone were adopting a pibble...

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