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Citrusy, silky lemon posset: The easiest dessert you’ve never made

By America’s Test Kitchen, Tribune Content Agency on

If you have cream, sugar, a couple of lemons and some fresh berries in your kitchen right now, you’re only a few hours away from tasting your new favorite dessert.

Posset is a chilled English dessert with the marvelously plush texture of a mousse or pudding that comes together almost by magic from nothing more than sugar, cream and citrus juice. There’s no fussing with temperamental egg yolks or add-ins like gelatin, flour or cornstarch needed to help the mixture thicken and set — or to interfere with the clean, bright taste of citrus.

We found that using just the right proportions of sugar and lemon juice was the key to custard with a smooth, luxurious consistency and a bright enough flavor to balance the richness of the cream. Lemon zest was essential to making the lemon flavor even more prominent.

For a posset with an optimally dense, firm set, we reduced the cream-sugar mixture on the stovetop to 2 cups to evaporate some of the water before adding the lemon juice, which in turn caused the mixture to solidify. Letting the warm mixture rest for 20 minutes before straining and portioning into individual servings allowed the flavors to meld even more and ensured a silky-smooth consistency (and prevented a “skin” from forming on the surface of the custard). After a three-hour stint in the fridge, the possets were cold, fully set, and ready to be garnished with a handful of fresh mixed berries.

If you’re looking for a supremely simple dessert to add to your repertoire, this easy, elegant recipe deserves a spot.

Lemon Posset with Berries

Serves 6

2 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup (4 2/3 ounces) granulated sugar


1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 6 tablespoons juice (2 lemons)

1 1/2 cups blueberries or raspberries

1. Combine cream, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Continue to boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. If the mixture begins to boil over, briefly remove from heat. Cook until the mixture is reduced to 2 cups, 8 to 12 minutes.

2. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let sit until the mixture is cooled slightly and a skin forms on top, about 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard zest. Divide the mixture evenly among 6 individual ramekins or serving glasses.

3. Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, at least 3 hours. Once chilled, possets can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to two days. Unwrap and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with berries and serve.

Recipe notes: This dessert requires portioning into individual servings. Reducing the cream mixture to exactly 2 cups creates the best consistency. Transfer the liquid to a 2-cup heatproof liquid measuring cup once or twice during boiling to monitor the amount. Do not leave the cream unattended, as it can boil over easily.

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