A posset is a wonderful thing, even easier than a panna cotta and just as delightful to eat. A little denser, a little more intense, its richness is undercut by the lip-smacking acidity of lemon. The texture is something quite lovely, like mascarpone, the same thickness as soured cream. Unable to buy good, thick cream here, a posset feels like a wonderful way of entrapping the best of Italian citrus in a pudding which is peculiarly British, and reminds me of my grandmother, who always made them as a fall-back when she hadn’t had time to make something else. Like so many fall-back foods (pasta, toast, omelettes) you find yourself secretly pleased you didn’t make anything else, because the simplest things are often the best. Happily, the lemon season here in Sardinia seems to last all year, depending on which variety is grown, and in my communal garden green lemons last all through the summer and into early autumn. They have a wonderful fresh, unripe flavour, much like a lime. If you want to replicate it without being able to source green lemons, use 3 normal lemons and 1 lime. The addition of a piece of semolina shortbread in non-negotiable.
Makes 6 small possets
450 ml double cream
80ml green lemon juice (and the finely grated zest from the lemons) around 4 large lemons
Place the cream and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil. Stir gently (the cream will expand a lot) and continue to boil for a couple of minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for around 5 minutes.
Add the lemon zest and juice to the cream mixture and then strain the mixture (to remove the zest) and decant into small cups or ramekins. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Serve, with extra curls of green lemon zest on top.
Note: This is also very good with poached blackberries, poached apricots, fresh raspberries or figs. And shortbread!
Recipe from Dolce, photos by Charlotte Bland