Thursday, October 28, 2010

28 October -- Making Posset

It is simple to make and absolutely delicious to eat. As a dessert it is a dramatic dish, uncommon enough to impress the most sophisticated diner. That's because it is an old English recipe (dating from Elizabethan days) which is almost unknown here. We were served Posset in an Asian Fusian restaurant in Gloucester, England and declared it Best. Dessert. Ever.

Naturally, we had to learn to make it at home. Now I have made it three times and I'm beginning to get the hang of it. Here's how it goes:

First, buy a quart of heavy cream. Here in California, every dairy case is filled with non-fat, low-fat or reduced fat milk. It took a lot of looking to find the small collection of cream containers. I wanted to hide it at the bottom of the grocery cart so that I wouldn't get disapproving stares. You could probably buy just a pint of heavy cream, but suppose you want to make it a second time? You don't want to make any more purchases of this aorta-clogging substance than absolutely necessary.

On the same trip, invest in a box of Baker's Sugar. This is a finely granulated sugar typically used in cakes and icings, they tell me.

Also, buy one lemon.

Here's how it all works: Measure out 300 ml of cream. I'm sure it's equivalent to some common measure, but I trust my Pyrex 2-cup measuring cup. Pour the cream into a small saucepan.
Start the cream warming on low heat.

Pour in 1/3 cup of baker's sugar, stirring all the time. Stir, stir, stir. At first you will see something that looks like bubbles, but until the posset is almost boiling, those bubbles are little lumps of undissolved sugar which must be stirred or pressed out. Stir, stir, stir.

Somewhere along the way, squeeze the juice out of your lemon. You'll want about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Since there are only three ingredients, it seems like really cheating to use the bottled juice.

While you are stirring, you'll notice that the solution is getting warmer, then hotter. Once it is really bubbling, cook it two minutes longer, continuing to stir. Then remove the pot from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and pour your posset into four small cups or dishes.

Let it cool slightly, then put the dishes into the refrigerator until it is very cold, or until you are ready to serve it.

We like it with a little spoonful of raspberry jam dropped on top just before serving.


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