Lemon Posset

This is such a simple recipe, in which lemon juice and heat, by a sort of alchemy, transform cream into a delicately set and delicious dessert.  It is easy enough to make for a Friday night supper but easily grand enough for guests, especially when dressed up with raspberries or redcurrants and served with crisp biscuits.

A posset was originally a hot drink made from hot milk curdled with wine or ale, and spiced with nutmeg or cinnamon. This modern incarnation is more like a syllabub, but quicker and easier to make.

Making the posset takes barely 10 minutes, but you do need to allow about three hours for it to chill in the fridge. These quantities are for 4 but can easily be divided or multiplied.

300ml double cream
75g caster sugar
zest & juice of 1 lemon

Bring the double cream and sugar slowly to the boil in a saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool a little. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Pour into 4 ramekins, leaving room enough room to add a few raspberries or redcurrants to garnish if you wish, and put in the fridge to chill and thicken for about three hours.

Serve alone, or with raspberries or redcurrants and crisp shortbread-type biscuits – lemon, almond or hazelnut biscuits all work well.

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