A Very English Pudding

The other day, we had French friends to dinner.  They bravely agreed to curry.  I thought I ought to check beforehand: the French – round here anyway – are curiously resistant to the fiery charms of the chilli plant, and hot spices generally.  They shouldn’t have worried, and neither should we.  They cleaned their plates and came back for more.

Having assaulted their palates with unfamiliar flavours, I wanted to make something rich and soothing to round off the meal.  And I remembered that, back in England, my friend Barbara had recently treated us to lemon posset.  It’s been around a few centuries, and was by no means a new recipe when Samuel Pepys had it for supper back in the 17th century.

At once palate-cleansing and luxurious, it’s so simple to make.  And when your guests ask for the recipe, you know you’ve struck gold.  Here it is:

Lemon Posset

Serves 4

500 – 600 ml. double or whipping cream (crème fleurette).  The quantities aren’t crucial.  Use a couple of pots of what’s available.

Up to150g. caster sugar
Juice of 3-4 medium lemons

Pour cream and sugar into a small saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Once boiling cook for a further three minutes, still stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and pour in half the lemon juice whilst stirring the mixture thoroughly. It should start to thicken instantly. Taste the mixture and if its not quite tart enough for your tastes then put a little more juice in. It should be tangy but still very rich.

Allow the posset to cool for approximately five minutes and then pour into 4 glasses, coffee cups, or any small, pretty containers. The posset will start to visibly thicken as it hits the cool glass or porcelain. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours. The posset should be quite firmly set.

Serve with lemon shortbread or other biscuits of your choice, or a fruit coulis.

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