Have you ever heard of Lemon Posset? Run, don’t walk to the nearest grocery store pick up some cream…and some lemons!
That’s it, seriously…well and a bit of sugar. I kid you not, Lemon Posset is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.It’s DEFINITELY the easiest and fastest.
(This post was originally published on July 31st, 2013. As an Amazon Affiliate, I may earn commission on qualifying purchases.)
A few years ago I was researching pub food for a catering company. Not traditional pub food, like cottage pie or sausage rolls, but fancier gastro pub food. I stumbled across the website of a gastropub just outside of London and was a bit taken back by the menu. Scanning down to the puddings, (desserts) out popped….Posset! “What IS this posset?”
What is posset?
Possets were originally used for medicinal purposes, as the The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as a, “drink made of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or other alcoholic liquor and typically flavored with spices, drunk as a delicacy or as a remedy for colds.” While the Folger Shakespeare Library describes it as having eggs and being similar to our modern day eggnog. We do know that posset has been around for hundreds of years and that Shakespeare refers to possets in several of his plays, including this line from The Merry Wives of Windsor…
“yet be cheerful knight: thou shalt eat a posset to-night at my house; Where I will desire thee to laugh at my wife.”
After researching several posset recipes online, my head was swimming in disbelief!
What is posset made from?
While old versions of posset used ale or wine to instead of citrus, most modern possets use citrus. Lemon, sugar and cream. Could a dessert with just THREE ingredients really be THAT good? Yep, that’s it. I was still a bit skeptical…no cornstarch…no flour…no eggs? While this recipe is made with Eureka lemons, you can easily make a Meyer lemon posset. If you’re using Meyer lemons, which tend to be sweeter, you can reduce the sugar slightly if you wish.
How does a posset set?
Well, that’s where the citrus comes in! After boiling the sugar and the cream together, you add the lemon juice and zest. The lemon juice causes a reaction with the cream resulting in it setting up. The resulting texture is smooth and creamy very similar to a panna cotta.
What’s the difference between panna cotta and posset?
Panna cotta means “cooked cream” in Italian. The difference between panna cotta and posset is that panna cotta uses gelatin, and posset relies on the acid in citrus to help it set. Here’s a recipe for Vanilla Panna Cotta.
Can a posset be made ahead of time?
Absolutely! In fact, while posset only takes a few minutes on the stove, it does require at least an hour or two in the fridge to set. It can even be made the day or night before you are going to serve it.
How long does lemon posset last?
While it only lasts about 3 days in the refrigerator, it never lasts that long around here, as the portions are small, and the recipe only makes 6 servings. This is a rich dessert. So you can also make the portions a bit smaller and serve 8, especially if you add a bit of fruit on top of each serving.
How do You Make Posset?
First zest one lemon. You should get about 2 teaspoons. Next, juice the lemon. You should get about 5 Tablespoons of lemon juice.
Bring the cream and sugar to a boil over a medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue stirring cream and sugar for 3 minutes, watch the heat and lower if needed to avoid the cream boiling over. Remove cream mixture from heat. Add zest and juice and let cool for about 10 minutes. (This is especially important if you are going to be transferring the Lemon Posset into crystal glasses.)
Can you make sugar free posset?
Absolutely! I wondered if a dessert this easy could be made sugar free! For a sugar free posset which is also low carb and keto friendly, I just substitute erythritol for the sugar. There is virtually no taste difference! Here’s my low-carb posset recipe.
What Can You Serve With Posset?
Lemon Posset is the perfect backdrop for just about anything! Top each serving with a sliver of lemon, a few raspberries, blueberries or blackberries and a spring of fresh mint, or perhaps a shortbread biscuit!
I hope you enjoy the delicious simplicity this Lemon Posset soon!
Here’s my Lavender, Honey and Orange Posset for a deliciously floral take on the original recipe.
- 16 ounces heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar (5.25 ounces)
- 5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice about 1 medium
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- Bring cream and sugar to boil over a medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium, and boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly, adjusting heat as needed to prevent mixture from boiling over. Remove from heat.
- Stir in lemon juice and zest. Let cool 10 minutes.
- Stir mixture again and divide among six ramekins or glasses.
- Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and chill until set, 1 hour or overnight.
- Allow to set completely before garnishing Garnish with lemon zest, berries or mint.
- Meyer lemons can be used when they are in season. Since they are sweeter than Eureka lemons, you can reduce the sugar slightly.
- This recipe can easily be doubled.
This has become one of my “go-to” recipes! I always have the ingredients, and it’s easy and delicious!
This is such a wonderfully refreshing summer treat! Absolutely love how creamy and lemon-y it is.
My nana used to make lemon posset every Sunday. One of my favourite desserts!
that’s awesome! you must be British!
True story, I had never heard of these before, and I am definitely making up for lost time now!
Crazy how simple it is! Thanks!
Renee | The Good Hearted Woman says
This was my first time making posset, and it is absolutely lovely! It tastes so clean and refreshing. I’m intrigued by the Shakespeare connection, too. Thanks for the background info!
you’re welcome! Thank you!
Aimee Mars says
Served at a recent baby shower and WOW – it was gone within minutes. A fan favorite and the beautiful color matched the decor.
It is perfect for a baby shower! Awesome!
Delicious and easy to make lemon dessert. I’m a fan
Alfredia Harris says
I made this using erythritol. I is excessively sweet. What can I do to fix it.
I have a low carb version, It uses less erythritol.I wish you hadn’t given me a poor rating since you changed the recipe! Here’s the link to the low-carb version which uses less erythritol. https://whatagirleats.com/sugar-free-pudding-lemon-custard/
I read about lemon posset in a book and had to google it because I had never heard about it. Since then I’ve made it several times whenever I’ve heavy cream left over and I simply love it. A friend of mine gets always gets their share and raves about it. So thank you for the recipe!!!
Katharina Casanova says
Thank you for this delicious recipe.
As I grew up with Italian cuisine, I can only confirm that its texture is similar to that of the panna cotta.
But only when the panna cotta is prepared the traditional way, without gelatin.
Thank you! I love hearing that!
Judy Sandeen says
What would happen if I use 1/2 and 1/2 instead of heavy cream? That’s what I have on hand, and the temperature outside is -14, so I don’t want to venture out! We had lemon posset at our local British bakery yesterday, and it was amazing!
I have never tried it with 1/2 and 1/2, so I’m not sure. You can try it? Let me know how it turns out!
Judy Sandeen says
Thank you! I waited till I could venture out to the store, and did it correctly, so no update about 1/2 and 1/2.
Judy Sandeen says
We first had it at our new British bakery, and loved it! So I googled and found your recipe….just as good! Thank you so much!
Theresa Shaw says
OMG, this is orgasmic! Thank you. I had never heard of posset and needed a gluten free dessert for a dinner party. This elevated the whole meal. I cut the sugar back marginally as I prefer things a bit more tart. Thank you for this recipe that will now be my ‘company’ dessert.
Lol! Thank you!
Jill Colonna says
Posset-ively fabulous recipe – love that it’s so simple and with a few good ingredients puts together a super dessert in no time.
Thank you so much!
Megan Cottrell says
I’ve never heard of possett dessert before so I made this and I served it. omg it was amazing, then I did add berry coulis to it also; It was so good!!
yes, a berry coulis is perfect! Thanks so much!