I love a good old English posset – they’re the most ridiculously easy dessert to make, yet they are surprisingly sophisticated in both taste and texture.
A posset is a delicate balance of three basic ingredients – cream, sugar and acid. It’s made by boiling the cream and sugar, and then adding the acidic component – usually lemon juice. Sounds kind of basic I know, but let me tell you, a simple Lemon Posset is a thing of beauty with its silky, creamy texture and mouth puckering tang.
I’ve made so many Lemon Possets though, that I thought it was high time to try on a new flavour. So when pomegranates, with their fresh, acidic, jewel-like seeds turned up at the supermarket, I figured they’d be just the ticket. A wee Google search later and I had a recipe.
For some reason though, the recipe didn’t work for me, i.e. the posset didn’t set properly. Generally, when a posset doesn’t set it’s because there’s not enough acid. So I made it again and added in the juice of half a lemon. Still didn’t work (besides which, all that lemon took away from the delicate pomegranate flavour). I wondered then if perhaps the method was the problem. In a basic lemon posset recipe, you boil the cream and sugar on their own BEFORE adding the acid, whereas in this recipe, everything was boiled together. So I tried one last time and went back to my usual method. And, just for luck, I added in a tablespoon of lemon juice for extra acid.
This time it worked a charm. And, actually, I reckon it tasted better as well with that shot of lemon juice adding extra tang and cutting back on the sweetness. It may have taken a bit of trial and error but boy oh boy, this baby was worth the wait! Enjoy!
POMEGRANATE & LEMON POSSETS
- 2 large pomegranates to yield 3/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 2.4 cups double (heavy) cream
- 4.7 oz caster (superfine) sugar
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Optional: 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- Optional: Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- Extract the seeds (arils) from the pomegranates (see notes for method) and add them along with any juices to a food processor. Process or pulse the seeds until pulpy. Pass the mixture through a sieve to extract the juice and measure out 180ml (3/4 cup) – discard the pulp and put the juice aside.
- Put the cream and caster sugar in a medium to large saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over a medium high heat, then turn the heat down to moderately low and simmer for 5 minutes (this part’s important to ensure a good set).
- Take the cream off the heat and add the pomegranate juice, zest and lemon juice and whisk until combined. NB: If you want a pinker shade, add a drop or two of red colouring.
- Pour the mix into your choice of serving dishes (if using glasses, let the mixture cool several minutes before doing so). If there is any foam on the surface, skim it off with a spoon. Let the puddings cool for a while on the bench, then transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 6-8 hours, or overnight.
- When ready to serve, take the possets out of the fridge and put the fresh pomegranate seeds and lemon zest on top of the chilled possets and serve.