Showing posts with label posset. Show all posts
Showing posts with label posset. Show all posts

Friday, January 4, 2013

Posset

by Sheila Connolly


Last week I offered up Battenberg Cake, which involved all sort of complicated maneuvers to produce.  This week I'm talking about posset, which has a total of three ingredients.

 
Historically posset was a kind of drink, made with cream, spices, eggs, sugar and wine (one 1671 recipe suggested including Ambergreece and Musk as well), heated together. 

 
Things have changed.  I made my acquaintance with posset at the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen, County Cork.  It's a charming establishment with 34 rooms—the "grand hotel" of the town.  It sits above the small river, and the local train used to run behind it—only a few feet away.  And it has a very nice restaurant called Kennedy's.

Local mural of the way things
used to be

Kennedy's serves two kinds of meals.  At lunch they offer a carvery meal.  If you're not familiar with this, it's kind of an all-you-can-eat thing at a reasonable price, with a choice of two roasts (lamb and beef), fish, chicken, pasta, two veg, and of course, potatoes, all served cafeteria style.  There is a brown gravy that goes with everything.  It's a very popular option:  when we were there for lunch, there were elderly people (older than us, that is), families with young children, guys in nice suits, and one fellow who I swear worked in the boiler room, who the waitress treated like a regular. 

Dinner is another matter.  The chef there knows what he's doing (or maybe it's a she—I didn't ask).  The menu is not so exotic as to scare off the local patrons, but everything was carefully executed, well plated, and delicious.  And the dessert was posset.  I'd heard the name before, but I had no idea what it would turn out to be—a tart-sweet lemon custard or pudding that was a delightful end for a meal.



 

LEMON POSSET
 

3 cups heavy cream

1¼ cups granulated sugar

Juice of 3 lemons

(Grated rind of lemon for garnish, if you want)

 

In a saucepan, combine the cream and sugar.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly (keep an eye on it so it won't boil over).  Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the lemon juice slowly (so it won't curdle), stirring constantly.  Let it cool for 10-15 minutes, then stir again.  Divide the posset into ramekins or custard cups or pretty glasses or whatever you want.  Cover and chill until set, anywhere from two hours to overnight if you want to make it ahead.

Since I didn't have martini glasses, I used what I had.
The servings may look small, but it's intense stuff.
 

If you want to get fancy, you can take the grated peel, mix it with a little sugar, and sprinkle over top of the possets.
 

And that's it!  Told you it was easy, didn't I?
 
 
First in the new County Cork Mysteries, coming February 5th.
 
Irish food is so much better than it used to be!