lemon posset

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The posset, while a very old dish going all the way back to medieval times, is very new to me. I learned about this creamy pudding while at the Ballymaloe Cookery School last August. The silky smooth texture is somewhere between a custard and a milky drink; it is surprisingly light and airy, even though you don’t whip the cream at all. There are variations on the recipe, some incorporating egg yolks, and others that use wine or ale to curdle the cream. The way I like to make a posset is incredibly simple and quick to put together, which makes it a great dessert for last-minute dinner parties. You only need a few spoonfuls to be quite satisfied, so have fun with small serving dishes – shot glasses, small glass jars, sake cups, little pots or ramekins. I am using lemon to curdle the cream, and have added a sprinkle of nutmeg for a slightly warming, autumnal flavour. At Ballymaloe, we steeped sweet geranium leaves in the cream and then strained them out. I think you could achieve a similar effect by adding a dash of St Germain elderflower liqueur. Next time I make possets I am thinking of incorporating nutmeg, ginger and a couple of cardamom pods…a sort of lemon chai posset. Will let you know how that turns out!

MAKES 6-8 SERVINGS

1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp heavy 35% (whipping) cream
just shy of 1/2 cup granulated sugar (don’t fill the measuring cup right to the top)
dash nutmeg (optional)
1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine cream and sugar in a small saucepan. Add dash of nutmeg if including. Bring to a simmer. Then turn the heat down to low and stir frequently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour into serving dishes. Allow to cool. Transfer to fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. The posset will set into a soft pudding.