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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.06 / 5 (64 votes)

Prep time:
20 min

This light and airy dessert, made by Nigella Lawson, provides a fragrant end to any meal


1. Combine the Cointreau, lemon juice and sugar in a large bowl (I use the bowl of my KitchenAid mixer) and stir to dissolve the sugar, or as good as.

2. Slowly stir in the cream then get whisking. As I said, I use my freestanding mixer for this, but if you haven't got one, don't worry - but I would then advise a hand-held electric mixer. This takes ages to thicken and doing it by hand will drive you demented with tedium and impatience. Or it would me.

3. When the cream's fairly thick, but still not thick enough to hold its shape, dribble in the flower waters and then keep whisking until you have a creamy mixture that's light and airy but able to form soft peaks. I always think of syllabub as occupying some notional territory between solid and liquid; you're aiming, as you whisk, for what Jane Grigson called 'bulky whiteness'. Whatever: better slightly too runny than slightly too thick, so proceed carefully, but don't get anxious about it.

4. Spoon the syllabub in airy dollops into small glasses, letting the mixture billow up above the rim of the glass, and scatter finely chopped pistachios on top. In How to Eat, there's a recipe for pistachio crescents which would be fabulous dunked into and eaten with this. But only if you feel like it: the cool, fool-like smoothness of this is perfect as it is.


  • 12 tbsp Cointreau, (approx 175ml)
  • 2 lemons, juice only
  • 8 tbsp caster sugar, (approx 125g)
  • 600 ml double cream, scant
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • 2 tbsp orange flower water
  • 2 tbsp pistachio nuts, finely chopped

Tips and suggestions

Turkish Citrus Salad with Pistachio Ice Cream
This hasn't got the temple-aching sweetness of Turkish Delight, nor its palate-cleaving glutinousness, but rather it is a cloud-light spoon-pudding version which attempts to catch its aromatic essence. That it requires no cooking, merely some pouring and whisking doesn't hurt either.

I use Cointreau here, simply because I have an enormous bottle of it and I prefer not to have to whip out to the shops every time I want to make something, but if you've got any other drink which you feel would make a suitable base, then feel free to use it in its stead.

The quantities above make enough syllabub to fill, billowingly, eight 150ml glasses.

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Latest Comment


AWFUL! This recipe does not work and caused me to waste a whole afternoon and a lot of Cointreau! Despite following the recipe to the letter I had to throw 2 batches away and start again as the mixture did not solidify but remained completely liquid, then curdled. Gave up in the end. Very fed up. What a waste of time and ingredients. Will not use Nigella again.

beaJ99955 beaJ99955  Posted 18 Apr 2013 3:34 PM

Sorry to hear this wasn't to your taste MarekG31725, the original recipe definitely says tablespoons. How about trying a lemon syllabub instead? [link]

Celia Good Food Celia Good Food  Posted 05 Nov 2010 3:42 PM

This was totally inedible. I wonder should it be teaspoons of rose water and not tablespoons in the recipe?

MarekG31725 MarekG31725  Posted 19 Sep 2010 7:54 PM

Cointreau is an orange liquer - by definition a syllabub contains cream and alcohol. You could try just leaving it out, or use some kind of orange syrup (reduce fresh orange juice with some sugar in a pan) but it just might not be the same Smile The alcohol serves to cut through the fattiness of the cream.

JamieRM JamieRM Posted 10 Dec 2009 1:56 PM

what is cointreau...if its wine/alcholol what else could you use instead of this as ido not drink at all?

yazifti yazifti Posted 13 Jun 2009 10:07 PM