Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lemon Posset

Somewhere between sexy Custard and sophisticated Panna Cotta, behind high-and-mighty Creme Brulee and tiny compared to Pudding, is Posset. She's a shy girl, often overlooked and too frequently thought of as a plain jane.

She's anything but.

Once you coax her out into the open, she's remarkable. She can dance, she can sing, she can cook and sew. She's the total package.

I'd never heard of Posset until a few days ago, when Sam did a post about it. It was love at first sight. I immediately whipped up two batches. One sugar-full for my lemon-loving Mr.W, the other using sugar substitute for me.

Nothing could be easier: simmer cream and sugar for three minutes, whisk in citrus juice, pour into serving containers and chill. It sets up firm like panna cotta, eats like a dream and makes you look like a rock star.

I served it in wine glasses with cookies on the side. Mr.W just went for the posset, ignoring the lonely gingersnaps meant to accompany. He gobbled it so fast I didn't need further proof of it's success--that is, until he started licking into the glass to get the last possible drop. I enjoyed mine with crushed sugar-free coconut cookies on top, which I thought were in perfect textural contrast.

Imagine the variations! Served in tiny pastry shells topped with whipped cream for little lemon pies. In ramekins dusted with Pop Rocks, drizzled with berry coulis or doused with your favorite booze. In glasses, simply served with cookies for dunking (or crushing over the surface, like I did). Or balsamic raspberries. Or in a martini glass with a pretzel rod stirrer. How about layered with lady fingers? Or nuts? Or fresh summertime blueberries? Made with other citrus juices, like lime, tangerine or blood orange. Infused with spices, like cinnamon, ginger or star anise.

The options are endless, from simple to elegant, suitable all year 'round.

This is a must try, my friends. Make some, and make it soon. You'll be so glad you did.

Lemon Posset
inspired by
this recipe

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute (I used Whey Low powdered sugar substitute)
1/4 vanilla bean, scraped of seeds (discard bean husk, bury it in your sugar bowl, or add it to your homemade vanilla extract) (optional)
about 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (optional)

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on how tart you like your desserts; I used a scant 3T)

Combine cream, sugar and vanilla bean seeds in a small, heavy saucepan and slowly heat, whisking occasionally, until you reach a simmer. Simmer three minutes, then remove from heat. Whisk in zest and juice. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to serving glasses or ramekins. Top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours until set. Serve as desired.


Michele@FineFuriousLife said...

Hm, what makes it set? The lemon curdles the cream and it basically turns to solid yogurt? Interesting. I think I've only read about posset in Victorian or even pre-Victorian novels.

Sam said...

Glad to hear it was such a success!

I like the coulis idea, that would be great! Raspberries would work really well.

Amanda said...

Hi, Michele. That's it--the lemon causes the cream to curdle as a mass. A smooth, yummy curdle.

Posset is also mentioned in MacBeth, when Lady MacBeth uses poisoned possets to disable to guards to Duncan's rooms: "The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugg'd their possets That death and nature do contend about them, Whether they live or die." --Macbeth Act II, Scene ii

Sam--thanks for such a great recipe. I'm sure to use this one over and over again.

Kathy said...

What a fascinating idea. I had never heard of this before. So simple and sounds delicious!

Amanda said...

Kathy, I think we Yanks are sorely deprived of European dishes like this one. So simple, and so good. I would have loved growing up with this lovely pud. You should make some for The Danes--too simple not to, and they'll be amazed at your kitchen prowess!

anudivya said...

A simple set of ingredients and a lovely recipe...

Malar Gandhi said...

First time to ur blog, wish to come more have interesting recipes ur pictures......looks fab'

Amanda said...

Thanks, Anudivya!

Thank you, Ms. Malar Ghandi, and welcome! I'm glad you like it here--come back anytime.

graywolff said...

I made the posset tonite for a dinner tomorrow-- glad I doubled it as I need to feed 6. Will add a couple of Milanos to the side---should WOW them (as will the rest of the meal, I hope) And I just checked it and it's set nicely.

Amanda said...

Graywolff, I hope your guests love it as much as we do! Merry Christmas!

graywolff said...

it was faaaaaaaabulous!

Amanda said...

Hooray! Graywolff, I'm so glad it turned out well.

Hippolyra said...

I love posset. I very nearly did not post mine as I did not really want to give away how easy it is to make.

It's my dinner party or pot luck staple now, along with pavlova - although the last pot luck I went to there were 5 pavs and 1 chocolate pudding!

Amanda said...

I forgive you--we all need our culinary secrets! :) Your posset photo is absolutely lovely.

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