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Lemon Posset is the perfect summertime dessert! Fresh lemon, cream, and sugar are combined to make a creamy and refreshing soft custard.
What is a Posset?
It’s a British dessert/drink dating back to the Middle Ages. Originally served as a hot drink made by curdling milk with wine and spices, today’s version of a posset (pronounced paa-suht) has evolved to more of sweet, soft dairy-based custard with citrus flavors.
Our simple Lemon Custard combines three ingredients: heavy cream, granulated sugar, and lemon (both the juice and zest) that is heated until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens. Then the custard is poured into individual serving cups and chilled until set. We garnished ours with a little more lemon zest and some chopped fresh mint.
Lemon Posset is rich, sweet, and very refreshing! A small portion is the perfect finish to a summertime meal of grilled meat, poultry, or seafood – or you could even serve this a “palate cleanser” between courses.
Why you’ll love Lemon Posset
- The flavors are sweet, lemony, and SO refreshing.
- This dessert calls for only three ingredients (four if you include the optional mint garnish) and takes only fifteen minutes to prepare – plus chill time.
- You could easily vary this recipe with other citrus flavors: orange or grapefruit would be other fantastic options.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Heavy Cream – Don’t be tempted to skimp and use a lower fat cream. The heavy cream is necessary to achieve the proper texture of the finished posset. Heavy cream in the United States is the closest equivalent to double cream in the United Kingdom.
- Granulated Sugar
- Fresh Lemons – You’ll include both lemon juice and zest in the posset, plus more lemon zest to garnish each serving if you’d like.
- Fresh Mint –We included finely chopped fresh mint as an optional garnish on each serving. You can leave it off if you’d prefer, but the mint did add a nice complementary burst of flavor in the first bite.
Special Tools Needed
- Medium Saucepan
- Various Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Lemon Juicer/Squeezer
- Lemon Zester – We used a microplane for small zest included in the posset. We also used this citrus zester to create longer lemon zest strands for the garnish.
- Small Glass Cups – These are similar to the ones we used (they are actually glass votives for tea lights, but are perfect for mini dessert portions). These would also work.
- 4-cup Measuring Cup with Spout – We found it easiest to pour the posset into the little serving cups with a spouted pitcher rather than trying to ladle the mixture into the glasses. If you are serving larger portions, a ladle would work fine.
Additional Serving Suggestion
If you want to get creative, you can cut a lemon in half and scoop out all of the pulp. Then, use the empty lemon halves as cups for a perfect small serving.
How do I make Lemon Posset?
- Heat heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan. Simmer to dissolve sugar and thicken the mixture. Mixture thickens more as it cools.
- Remove pan from the heat, then add lemon juice and zest.
- Pour mixture into a spouted pitcher or measuring cup.
- Pour into individual serving cups and chill until set – one to two hours or overnight.
- Serve with more lemon zest and finely chopped fresh mint on top if you’d like.
Tips & Tricks
- Note that the total volume of the lemon cream mixture will be 3½ cups.
- Feel free to portion into whatever size serving dish you’d like. We used these mini glasses similar to this for eight small portions.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Lemon Posset ahead of time? Yes, this should be made in advance so it has time to chill and to set up before serving.
- How do I store leftovers? Store refrigerated for up to three days. Just note that the lemon juice may begin to separate from the cream as it sits in the refrigerator. Stir to combine before serving but also note that the posset will get more liquid the longer it sits in the fridge. (It’s still delicious even if it’s more of a drink consistency.)
- Can I freeze the mixture? No, this dessert isn’t meant to be frozen and the cream and lemon will separate. If you’d like a frozen lemon dessert, try our Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet recipe instead!
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2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of three lemons
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Mint, for garnish (optional), finely chopped
Additional lemon zest, for garnish (optional)
- Pour cream and sugar into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. The mixture will foam up as it starts to boil so be prepared to lower the flame.
- Once boiling, lower heat to a fast simmer and cook three minutes.
- Remove from heat and whisk in lemon zest and juice.
- Pour into a four-cup glass measuring container with a lip to make it easier to portion.
- Pour mixture into ramekins or glass serving cups. Refrigerate for two hours or longer until set.
- Serve with fresh chopped mint and additional lemon zest if you’d like.
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