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.
Love lime? Try Lime Posset with graham cracker crumbs!
A note about sugar!
Two or three readers have commented that it’s “too sweet” with 3/4 cup of sugar. If you prefer a tarter dessert, try 1/2 cup or 2/3 cup!
- 16 ounces heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar (5.25 ounces)
- 5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice and zest about one large lemon
- 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 and let sit for 10 minutes to cool.
- 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 fresh berries or mint.
- Note: a few readers have said that it is "too sweet" with 3/4 cup. If you prefer a tarter flavor, I'd suggest cutting the sugar back to 1/2 cup.
- Meyer lemons can be used when they are in season.
- This recipe can easily be doubled.