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Orange and Cointreau syllabub

Orange and Cointreau syllabub

Syllabub - a velvety-smooth concoction of sweet wine and cream - is one of the great English desserts, dating from the 16th century. At this time of year I like to make it with orange rather than lemon, topped with an irresistibly crunchy mixture of orange zest and sugar.

Serves 6

150ml southern French muscat or similar sweet white wine
1 tablespoon Cointreau or other orange liqueur
The finely grated rind of 2 unwaxed oranges
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons unrefined caster sugar
400ml chilled double cream

You will also need a large bowl, chilled for 30-40 minutes in the fridge or for 15 minutes in the freezer

Pour the wine into a bowl, add the Cointreau, half the grated orange rind, the orange and lemon juice and 2 tbsp of the caster sugar. Stir, cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Strain through a fine sieve. Pour the cream into a large chilled bowl and beat with an electric hand-held beater until it starts to thicken. Add the orange-flavoured wine, bit by bit, beating between each addition until the cream thickens again. (Don’t overbeat it, or it will separate. Aim for a thick pouring consistency.)

When the final addition of wine has been incorporated the mixture should hold a trail when you lift out the beaters but shouldn’t be stiff.) Ladle the mixture into individual glass dishes and chill for at least an hour before serving. In the meantime mix the remaining orange zest and sugar and leave it on a plate to crisp up. (If you want to make it further ahead put it in a sealed plastic box.) Just before serving sprinkle the orange sugar over the top of each glass.

What to drink:
Although you might think the citrus and sweet wine might pose problems the amount of cream actually makes this a very wine-friendly dessert that would match well with the same type of wine you use in the syllabub. We drank a pretty, peachy Tabali Encantado Late Harvest Muscat from Chile with it which went very well.

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