If you’re short of cash, or time, one of the simplest yet fairly impressive desserts you can throw together with minimal ingredients is a posset, an ancient dessert of medieval origin. Although I warn you now, I suspect there may be a slight problem with this dessert akin to eating cheese before bedtime. Retiring to my luxurious pit after eating the aforementioned dessert (ably prepared by ‘E’), I had the most horrifying dream. I was pursued down alleyways, across rooftops and forced to take increasingly tortuous and laborious routes in a futile attempt to escape from my relentless pursuer…a guinea pig with unusually large and sharp teeth.
We had a friend round for dinner, and being short of time, thought a posset would be the perfect choice. Deciding that we should ‘pimp’ it a bit for our guest, we thought that candied peel would be the way to go to elevate a rather plain posset to dinner party status.
Searching the internet for likely recipes we found that candied peel seems to involve a disproportionate amount of work…most recipes requiring about 5 days of drying time, draped over the thighs of virgins and only if the moon is waxing gibbous…. oh and you have to wear a badger pelt hat. Obviously.
‘E’ and I, melding our mungus foodie brains together, thus forming one utterly herculean, bulging mega gourmet brain, came up with an alternative quick method. Dismissing 47,700 results on Google with a nonchalant raised middle finger – we decided that we knew better.
Whilst we were ignoring conventional culinary wisdom, we also decided that a bog standard lemon posset was just too…errr…bog standard, and created an orange and lemon combo instead. Wild and crazy eh?
Here’s the recipe for the posset…. if you can deal with the Guinea pig terror…and the quick candied peel.
St Clements posset
450 ml double cream
110g caster sugar
Plus, for the candied peel
1 cup sugar (plus a pinch of caster sugar for sprinkling)
½ cup water
For the candied peel: -
Remove half the skin of both the orange and the lemon in wide strips and carefully remove the pith.
Slice the peel strips lengthways into 2mm matchsticks.
In a small saucepan, heat the cup of sugar with the water to make stock syrup, simmering until clear.
To this, add the orange/lemon matchsticks and simmer gently for 5 mins.
Meanwhile, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and pre-heat the oven to 150C.
Remove the orange/lemon from the stock syrup and spread out on the baking tray. Put into the oven, and bake for roughly half an hour.
Remove the tray from the oven, and immediately scrape the peel from the greaseproof paper into a bowl (If it’s allowed to dry, it’ll stick fast – I speak from experience).
Sprinkle some caster sugar over the peel.
For the posset: -
Place the double cream and the sugar into a saucepan and stir to combine.
Heat gently at first, then raise the temperature and bring to the boil, stirring regularly.
Remove from the heat and add both the orange and the lemon juices.
Pour into heatproof glasses/espresso cups and leave to set in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Decorate with a heap of the quick candied peel and serve with a shortbread biscuit on the side (Bought or baked yourself, your call).