Possets: The Simplest Custard Ever?

Possets: The Simplest Custard Ever?

Emma Christensen
Apr 26, 2010

We heard about a new kind of custard the other day. It's called a posset, made from just cream, sugar, and whatever flavorings you might like. And it turns out that it's not at all new! In fact, it's one of the oldest versions of custard around. New or old, this sounds like the perfect dessert for us.

We actually found two different versions of the posset. One version is a drink of hot milk curdled with wine or beer, served with spices and sometimes enriched with egg. This was a common cure for illnesses during the 15th and 16th centuries.

We're more interested in the dessert version! This is made by boiling cream and sugar for several minutes, then stirring in lemon juice, a little liquor, or any other desired flavorings. Poured into ramekins, this mixture sets into a loose pudding-like custard. Some kind of acidic ingredient is necessary to help the cream thicken.

If you have access to really good fresh cream from a local dairy, this seems like a fantastic way to showcase it. Add some fresh berries or summer fruit on top, and we'll have ourselves an excellent - and very easy! - dessert.

Here are a few recipes we've found:

Lemon Posset from food52 - this was what first got us curious about possets!
Clementine Posset from Bon Appétit
Lime and Lemon Posset from Epicurious

Related: Butterscotch Pudding from Shuna Fish Lydon

(Image: Sarah Shatz courtesy Food52)

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