Cooking is such fun as some recipes take only moments to make yet produce a stunning dish, the ultimate Lemon Posset is one such. The Posset is making a comeback and now the darling of quick, easy desserts and makes a quick and deliciously tangy pudding. It is perfect for spring and summer days, but so seriously delicious you should eat it anytime you like.
Originally a posset was a drink made from hot milk and honey, spiced and laced with ale or wine. It was popular in the Middle Ages as a remedy for colds and minor ailments and a sleep-aid. Posset appeared in Shakespeare's Macbeth when Lady Macbeth used a poisoned posset to knock out the guards outside Duncan's quarters.Later it became a thickened cream dessert, usually flavoured with honey and lemon but do check out the alternatives to the traditional posset below.
Three ingredients make this a quickest, easiest and light, dessert - ever.
- 2 large unwaxed lemons
- 425 ml (2 cups) double /heavy cream
- 125g (2/3 cup) caster /superfine sugar
- Finely grate the zest and juice the two lemons. Pour 120 ml (1/2 cup) of the lemon juice into a small saucepan. Add the grated zest and the caster sugar and stir. Bring the syrup mixture to a slow, gentle simmer and then leave to one side.
- Bring the cream to a gentle** boil. Slowly whisk in the syrup then strain into a clean jug. For a very tangy posset, don't strain.
- Let the posset cool slightly then pour into small ramekins or glasses. Leave to cool completely then chill in the refrigerator for several hours. The cream will become a silky, thick cream.
- Remove from the refrigerator and leave for 5 minutes before serving.
- To serve, traditionally a posset is served with slivers of toasted almonds but is also delicious with summer berries and/or Scottish Shortbread.
Variations of a Traditional Lemon Posset:
Lemon may well be the traditional posset, or at least the one we know nowadays. It is, however, lovely to ring the changes.
Change the citrus flavour by using lime juice instead.
Mix different citrus flavours - Lemon and clementine juice are wonderful.
Add a little vanilla extract to the cream and syrup mix. Be sparing though, vanilla can overpower and spoil the delicate lemon flavour.
In medieval times a posset would have honey, as well as spices, which though expensive at the time, were also much-loved flavours. Try a light grating of nutmeg (keep it very light). A pinch of ground ginger and for an autumnal feel, try a tiny pinch of mixed spice (known as Pumpkin Spice mix in the US.)
Add a little alcohol. A ldash of sweet wine, Maderia, or for an authentic flavour - mead. Add the alcohol when whisking the syrup into the cream.
**Note: At no time should you vigorously boil the posset as this will curdle the mixture.