Reading about Posset – a lemony dessert that is prepared with only three ingredients – I got very curious, and decided to find out more about it. I’ve discovered that there were many versions for this dessert, and that it also had quite an interesting history.
The term Posset originally described a thick hot beverage, made by mixing spiced hot milk and honey, that was used as a remedy for cold in the Middle Ages. Later on, versions that included eggs were popular, and the drink was similar to Eggnog. Over the years, still more different versions appeared, using heavy cream instead of milk, and in most the eggs were omitted.
Different additions were added to the cream, lemon juice among them. Whoever first added lemon to the cooked cream discovered that, unlike in milk, where acidity separates it into milk solids and liquid, heavy cream reacts in a completely opposite way: it actually sets and thickens by the acidity of lemon juice, without the need to add any stabilizers such as gelatin or cornstarch!
As a big fan of lemon in any form, I tried the plain 3 ingredient version, and was very pleased with the flavor, and the velvety creamy texture.
However, I felt it could benefit from another layer of aroma, and decided on lavender, which I find works extremely well with citrus fruits. The lavender aroma was just what was needed to elevate the dessert to another level.
This easy to make dessert will delight anyone who loves lemony aromatic desserts. As it is quite rich, a small portion of it is perfect for serving as part of a buffet desserts table. Try it and enjoy.
* If the amount here is too large for your needs, simply cut the amounts in half, and reduce the cooking time on each step by 2 minutes.
Makes: about 26 (1.25oz/35 grams), or larger portions if you prefer (see notes)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: minimum 4 hours
1 QT (946 ML) heavy cream, at room temperature
2 Tbs freshly grated lemon zest
2 tsp culinary grade dried lavender buds, lightly crushed
1½ cups sugar
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
Sliced fruits for serving. (Optional. I used sliced green grapes, golden berries and strawberries).
- Mix the heavy cream with the lemon zest, lavender and sugar in a medium pot. Mix and let steep for 5 minutes.
- Place on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook, on the verge of boiling, for 5 minutes, mixing occasionally.
- Add the lemon juice, mix and bring to the verge of boiling. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes, mixing occasionally. Take off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes in the pot, mixing occasionally.
- Strain through a fine strainer and discard the zest and lavender. (Note that at this point the cream is still liquid, and will only set after chilling – so don’t despair if you see it hasn’t thickened much.)
- Divide between serving cups. Chill in the fridge before covering. Keep in the fridge for 4 hours, or overnight. Serve well chilled.