Ready For Dessert? Posset-tively!

Autumn was right around the corner, and it was a beautiful and warm evening when we hosted an end-of-summer, al fresco BBQ. The party started with some appetizers on the patio, namely the simple-yet-elegant Gambas al Ajillo in a cazuela, compliments of Russ. The other two appetizers arrived via Rosanne. The Pea Pesto Crostini (recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis) not only was gorgeous to look at, but tasted great! And her yummy little skewers were a mix of spicy sausage, and sweet for those with a more delicate palette.

IMG_7490A sliced baguette is a must with this sizzling garlic shrimp dish to mop up all of the luscious EVOO.


One of the guests was originally going to bring dessert, but the couple had to back out so Russ did a little online investigating and found this Lemon Posset with Berries on the Cook’s Illustrated website (recipe follows). The description of a silky, rich British dessert with bright citrus flavor caught his attention. The fact that there were only four ingredients made it that much more appealing.

IMG_7492Wendy and Rosanne keep me company in the kitchen as I prepare the Mexican corn dish.

According to Wikipedia: A posset (also historically spelled poshoteposhotte) was originally a popular British hot drink made of milk curdled with wine or ale, often spiced, which was often used as a remedy. In the 16th century the drink evolved into a cream, sugar and citrus-based confection, which is still consumed today as a cold set dessert—somewhat like a cross between custard and pudding.

IMG_7511Add a small shortbread cookie on the side for some crunch factor.

Using just the right proportions of sugar and lemon juice is the key to custard with a smooth, luxurious consistency and a bright enough flavor to balance the richness of the cream. Pairing the dessert with fresh berries for textural contrast helps keep it from feeling overly rich. One reviewer commented he added a pinch of Moroccan mint and a star anise pod, claiming the subtleties were delicious and totally complimentary to the lemon—although we did not include those touches.

IMG_7470Zesting and juicing the lemons for the posset.

Before dessert however, we enjoyed a main course of Cedar-Planked Salmon with Lemon Pepper Rub, Mexican Corn and Wendy’s cheerful tossed salad brimming with lots of healthy ingredients and containing almost every color in the rainbow.


IMG_7508A side of horseradish chive sauce is served with the salmon.

Lemon Posset with Berries

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

Lemon Posset with Berries


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 6 tablespoons juice (2 lemons)
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries or raspberries


  1. Combine cream, sugar, and lemon zest in medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Continue to boil, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. If mixture begins to boil over, briefly remove from heat. Cook until mixture is reduced to 2 cups*, 8 to 12 minutes.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let sit until mixture is cooled slightly and skin forms on top, about 20 minutes.
  3. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into bowl; discard zest. Divide mixture evenly among 6 individual ramekins or serving glasses.
  4. Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, at least 3 hours. Once chilled, possets can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  5. Unwrap and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with berries and serve.

*This dessert requires portioning into individual servings. Reducing the cream mixture to exactly 2 cups creates the best consistency. An easy method is pouring 2 cups of water into your saucepan first. Measure the water height with a wooden skewer, making a notch at that point. Bend the tip at the notch. Pour out the water, bring your ingredients to a boil, checking the depth after about 8 minutes. Continue boiling until the desired depth of 2 cups is reached.


Footnote: We made another Posset the following weekend for more company. It was lime-based and topped with fresh raspberries, shown below.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s