Food 52sday Recipe Inspiration: Lemon Posset

Food52 Cookbook 001What's Food52sday, anyway?

I was just looking through the remaining recipes that The Beloved and I chose from The Food52 Cookbook. Believe it or not, there are very few desserts represented. Maybe it's because I know how to make a cake and can modify it to suit my tastes.  I can make a pie--if not exactly like a recipe demands, it's at least a tip of the hat to the original.  I can make a dessert sauce. I can modify a crumb topping.

I'm not trying to sound braggy  or icky or anything. These are just things that I have learned to do as I've journeyed to learn to cook--not to follow recipes, but to really cook. I've internalized many of the Big techniques, and I've achieved enough automaticity in the kitchen that I feel that very little stands between me and what I want to make. I know what I want to make, I can imagine how I want it to taste and know what to put together to make it taste that way.

That's why Food52sday, for me anyway, is a time for me to play with other folks' recipes. To have fun with them. To respect the original dish and to do it honor by making it my own and bringing my own personality and style to it.  So the desserts that do/have shown up on the list tend to be things I've never made or heard of.  Pudding chomeur? Wow--that was an incredible, eye-opening dessert. But it's also a technique. A way of poaching dough in a sweet, rich sauce. Roger that. Got it. Next time I make it, it'll probably be different. Or not.

The rhubarb curd shortbread? I ended up turning that into a citrus sabayon tart, but the basic idea of the original teaches me that any curd baked on top of any pre-baked crust, will set up and be sliceable. This is a Good Thing to know, for sure.

And that brings me to today's inspiration.  I've never heard of a posset before. But it sounds like it's a word that belongs in a nursery rhyme: "Little Miss Mosset held tight to her posset"--an old-fashioned kind of Britishy sounding word.  It actually was a drink in which milk was boiled with some sort of something that would curdle it--usually wine or ale. According to our friends at Wikipedia, it was often spiced.  And it is British. They considered it to have medicinal properties, and a holdover of that in modern times is drinking some hot milk before bed. I'm a Fan of that myself.  A squirt of honey, maybe a splash of vanilla and a wee pinch of salt in hot milk, and I'm a happy girl.

Anyway, back to the actual Recipe Inspiration in Question: the Lemon Posset.  It contains 3 ingredients and it kind of reminds me of key lime pie filling without the egg yolks. You boil dairy and sugar and then stir in some citrus juice. This ends up curdling the whole deal. But not like lumpy curds and whey. It just thickens it in exactly the same way that the key lime juice starts to thicken the sweetened condensed milk in a key lime pie.

I want to play with this technique and see what happens. I hope you'll join me. Tune in next Tuesday to see what I come up with, and if you cook along, please share your results here or over on the facebook page.

Until then, check out the original recipe by mrslarkin. I love that name: mrslarkin. I think she might solve mysteries in her spare time or something.  I hope you'll be as inspired by this seemingly simple dessert as I've been.

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.


  1. Jo-Anne Roberts says

    I was reading the comments on the Food52 web site and someone mentioned adding lime instead of lemon. I have a friend that has requested key-lime pie. I wonder if this would be firm enough…I’m researching key-lime pie recipes now. 

      • says

        I think lime would work just fine, but I do think you need the extra Holding and Setting power of eggs if you want to be able to slice it. If you serve it in individual cups, then this would probably work out great!

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