Lemon Posset is a near perfect dessert in my mind. It is rich, decadent, and creamy, while managing to taste light and fresh on the tongue. It has only three simple ingredients, that come together in a taste and texture that will make you smile. We discovered this unique old-fashioned British treat when searching for a custard-like dessert for a friend who is allergic to eggs. As often happens when we are confronted with a food restriction, we become fixated on that ingredient...in this case egg-centric dishes: ice creams, meringues, cakes, and custards. We wanted a dish with the silky creaminess usually only possibly with thickeners and eggs. Lemon Posset allows the egg-free and gluten-free among us an uncompromised dessert win, free of any substitutes or unpronounceable ingredients.
What makes our Lemon Posset extra delicious are our home-grown Meyer lemons. I love the smell and look of citrus trees, so we have three growing in our dining room: Kaffir lime, Calamondin orange, and Meyer lemon. When our lemon comes into bloom (about twice a year) it fills our house with a subtle sweet citrus scent. Each lemon on the tree takes 9-12 months to mature, swelling into a large juicy ball of joy. Fresh lemons have a softer, sweeter, fresher flavor than what you find in the grocery store. In this type of a simple recipe, the quality of each ingredient comes through, so use the freshest lemons you can find and use local grass-fed heavy cream if you can afford it. The recipe below is adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Family Fare.
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cups white sugar
- 2-3 lemons, juiced
- Prep your ingredients prior to starting this recipe as the cooking process will require constant whisking and goes very quickly.
- Pour the cream and sugar into a small pan or saucier. bring to a boil over medium heat, about 2 minutes.
- Set your timer to 3 minutes, and keep whisking the cream mixture at an rolling boil. Do not stop whisking during this time. Keep a close eye on the boiling cream, you may need to make some adjustments to keep it at a full boil without boiling over.
- Once your 3 minutes has elapsed, removed the pan from the heat, and pour in half of your lemon juice. You should see a slight thickening of the cream mixture at this point, and it should be able to coat your spoon (see photo). Taste the mixture and determine if you would like more lemon flavor, and add more lemon juice to your taste. There should be an assertive lemon flavor bathed in a velvety cream sauce. If your posset is still very thin, let it rest 5 minutes and whisk a few times, the cooling should help it to thicken.
- Pour into serving dishes. Cover and refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours, or as long as overnight. The posset will thicken into a firm custard texture in the refrigerator. Allow the possets to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes prior to serving for an optimal texture.
- We have made possets many times and the only batch we've ever had problems with was when we did not maintain an assertive boil for the entire 3 minutes. A simmer will not cut it with this recipe, your cream mixture must be boiling vigorously!
- You can substitute other citrus for lemon in this recipe; blood orange, limes, grapefruit, etc. However, you must achieve a similar acid content to properly thicken the cream. So if you are going to use less acidic grapefruit, for example, you will need to add more juice to achieve the same final texture.