The Tudor Society

My Lady of Middlesex’s Syllabub

For today's Claire Chats I'm sharing a "Tudor Cooking with Claire" video that I have just done. In it, I make "My Lady of Middlesex's Syllabub" recipe from the book The closet of Sir Kenelm Digby, knight, opened. It's a really simple dessert and you can tell your guests that it's an authentic Tudor recipe.

Modern Version:

1 pint/500-600ml double cream
200ml white wine
100g caster sugar
50ml sherry (brandy also works well)
A teaspoon or so of grated nutmeg (you can also use cinnamon and cloves)
Zest of 1 lemon

Whisk together until frothy, pour into glasses and then chill for a few hours or overnight. Don't worry if it curdles as that's all part of the recipe.

This actual recipe dates to the Stuart period, but there are similar recipes in the Tudor books I have. Lady Elinor Fettiplace makes hers from a pint of cream, quarter of a pint of white wine, some rose water, sugar, cinnamon and the whites of three eggs. She shakes these together in a pottle pot until frothy and then serves.

Notes and Sources

  • The closet of Sir Kenelm Digby, knight, opened, edited by Anne MacDonnell (1910), Philip Lee Warner, London, p. 115-116, available to read online at
  • ed. Spurling, Hilary (1986) Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book, Viking Salamander, p.115.

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My Lady of Middlesex’s Syllabub