Follow this lemon possets recipe for an amazing, easy and quick dessert. It’s served in individual glasses with fresh fruit like raspberries, blueberries and chopped peaches
Do you have an easy and quick dessert recipe in your recipe book? If you’re a fun of citrus flavor, then you will fall in love with these lemon possets (a.k.a. lemon pots). I call them lemon possets because the basic recipe uses lemon juice and lemon zest but I usually make them with a combination of lemons and limes for an even more interesting result.
These possets make for a very easy and quick dessert (you’ll be amazed by how little effort they require), they’re also very easy to serve because they’re made in individual serving glasses (or bowls) and they taste so good that everyone who will try them will certainly ask you for the recipe.
Serve them plain or with whatever fresh fruit you like and some mint or spearmint leaves. They are the perfect, refreshing dessert after any dinner.
From what I’ve read, the modern lemon possets are more similar to an English dessert called syllabubs. According to historicfood.com syllabubs and possets are English dairy dishes which first appeared around the sixteenth century. Syllabubs were cold desserts made from whipped cream and wine or sherry. Possets were frothy spiced custards made with cream, wine and eggs and were usually served hot. Because syllabubs were cold, they could be served in delicate glass pots while the hot possets had to be served in more durable ceramic pots.
What is lemon posset made from? The ingredients
This recipe has only 3 main ingredients, but if you also add a pinch of salt and some vanilla extract it will be even better. So, to make a lemon posset you will need:
- Milk cream with 35% fat (usually called heavy or whipping cream)
- Lemons (the juice and the zest)
- Sugar (white sugar is best because it doesn’t alter the flavor we’re aiming for)
- Salt (optional)
- Vanilla extract (optional)
Regarding the lemons, you’ll want to use the juice and the zest because that’s where all the essential oils are. These essential oils will provide a fuller and more complete lemon flavor to your dessert. If you want to add more dimension, you can substitute some of the lemon juice with lime juice and some of the lemon zest with lime zest (orange zest will also do).
The sugar content is enough to give the dessert the right sweetness but it also helps to thicken the cream. If you use less sugar the cream can become thinner because sugar binds the water molecules, increases the viscosity, and gives structure as well as a velvety mouthfeel.
A pinch of salt acts as a flavor booster to every dessert, so don’t forget it!
How to make a lemon posset
This is one of the easiest desserts you’re going to make. The simple steps are:
- Heat the cream with the sugar and the zest until the cream starts to boil (be careful as it can boil over very easily).
- Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and the vanilla.
- Pass the cream through a strainer to catch the zest.
- Pour the cream into serving bowls and refrigerate until set (2-3 hours).
- Serve with fresh fruit on top
How does a lemon posset set?
In the article “introducing lemon posset” by Cooks Illustrated you can find detailed information about the chemistry behind the thickening of a lemon posset. In a few words, when acid (like lemon juice or vinegar) is added to milk the change in pH causes the milk’s proteins (casein) to bond together in clusters. This makes the milk grainy and curdled.
Something similar happens to cream when acid is added to it, but because cream has more fat and less water the effect is different. The fat in cream interferes with the proteins’ ability to form tight curds and as a result, a smooth, creamy consistency develops instead of a grainy one (instead of curdling as milk would, the mixture thickens).
In addition, heating the cream causes the whey proteins to unwind and attach themselves to the casein molecules and so helps stabilize the gelled liquid. The sugar adds viscosity, giving the posset better structure and a creamy texture.
What can you add on top?
Raspberries and blueberries go perfectly with any lemon-flavored dessert, but so as peaches in my opinion. For a delicious lemon posset use any ripe, seasonal fruit you like and cut each fruit into similar sized pieces.
Another thing you can add on top of these lemon pots is chopped nuts. Walnuts, almonds, pistachios will provide a crunchy contrast to the smooth, silky cream. If you can devote some extra time in the kitchen, a crispy oat cookie (you’ll find the recipe with this sweet wine panna cotta) will make for a stunning presentation.
One or two mint (or spearmint) leaves will complete the dessert in a very nice way.
How long does the lemon posset last in fridge?
Lemon possets will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. Simply place into serving dishes and cover the top of the dish with cling film. If you want to make them in advance, it’s best to store them in the fridge without any topping which you will add just before serving.
- 3 cups (750 ml) heavy cream, 35% fat
- the lemon zest from 2 lemons (see notes)
- 3/4 cups (150 grams) white sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- fresh fruit, mint leaves
Heat the cream: Transfer the cream, the sugar, the salt and the zest to a deep pot and heat over medium high heat until it starts to boil. Reduce the heat and boil, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, taking care not to boil over.
Make the Posset: Add the lemon juice and the vanilla extract to the pot and stir to combine. Pass the cream through a strainer and into a jug to catch the zest and any lumps.
Serve: Divide the mixture between 6 – 8 serving glasses or bowls and chill in the fridge until cold (2-3 hours). Serve with fresh fruit and a mint leave.
- You can also use the zest from 1 lemon and 1 lime (the same goes for the juice).
- For a more tangy dessert increase the lemon juice to 1/3 cup (80 grams).
- Boil the cream for 1-2 minutes but stir it constantly and be careful because it can boil over. Boiling the cream will infuse it better and will make it thicker because some of the water will evaporate.
- 120 grams or 1/2 a cup for 8 servings (381 calories)
- 160 grams or almost 3/4 of a cup for 6 servings (507 calories)
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